Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (2015, 2016, and 2019)

Received grant funding for a series of cases on behalf of domestic violence survivors from Central American countries seeking asylum in the United States. The results of those cases are below. 

2015 Grant

Moved the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to reconsider its denial of asylum in the case of an indigenous woman who fled Guatemala after suffering severe domestic violence at the hands of her father, as well as her common law husband. Matter of R-P-

They prevailed in the case when, in another asylum case, Matter of A-R-C-G-, the BIA definitively recognizing domestic violence as a basis for asylum for the first time.

Click here to see the original grant, including the six-month and year-end reports

2016 Grant

In their second grant-funded case, they litigated on behalf of a young Guatemalan domestic violence survivor who sought protection before the Immigration Court in Arizona.  That case, Matter of S-O-, was litigated as a part of a broader strategy, to transform the culture of immigration courts in jurisdictions particularly hostile to asylum seekers.  The immigration judges in Arizona were denying asylum in a staggering 94.9 percent of cases, far out of sync with the national average.

In February 2017, the individual was granted asylum, was reunited with her son, and is beginning her new life in the United States.

“The grant from the Barbara McDowell Foundation was critical to our ability to win protection for our client,” said Blaine Bookey, Legal Director. Media coverage included stories in the Washington Post and on National Public Radio.

Click here to see the original grant, including the six-month and year-end reports

2019 Grant

Litigated to reverse former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ June 2018 ruling in the case Matter of A-B-, vacating the previously controlling BIA precedent ruling Matter of A-R-C-G-, which had affirmed the right of domestic violence survivors to seek asylum. The case is still in litigation. 

The Barbara McDowell Foundation’s generous support enabled CGRS to pursue all possible avenues to justice for Ms. A.B. and for the thousands of asylum-seeking women, children, and families impacted by the ruling in her case. Our team remains committed to winning a reversal of Matter of A-B- and restoring asylum protections for domestic violence survivors who turn to the United States for safe haven.” - Blaine Bookey, Legal Director and Counsel for Ms. A.B. 

Click here to see the original grant, including the six-month and year-end reports.