Immigration Law

Honduran Mom in Artesia Granted Asylum by Video

"An immigration judge [in Arlington, VA] granted asylum on Thursday to a Honduran woman and her children after the woman testified that she was beaten, threatened and raped at gunpoint by her husband before fleeing to the United States.

The woman, whose attorney asked be identified by her initials, D.M.L., to protect her identity from her abusive husband, watched the decision in Arlington via webcam from a room 1,800 miles away in Artesia, New Mexico, where she and her two daughters are being held at a makeshift family detention facility. ...

Thursday's decision was the third instance of attorneys working with the American Immigration Lawyers Association's pro bono project to successfully argue for asylum for a family. The decision also reaffirmed another judge's recent ruling that similarly made domestic violence the basis of an asylum claim.

The government has 30 days to appeal the decision in D.M.L.'s case. ...

In the courtroom in Arlington, Weinberg and Bobadilla wiped away tears after the decision, then quickly set about their first post-hearing task: Checking plans to get D.M.L. and her daughters out of the Artesia facility. Family detention is expanding rapidly, and immigration advocates are extremely concerned. They say women and children in asylum proceedings should be released if they aren't determined a flight risk, rather than locked up where they're denied free movement and have difficulty accessing legal counsel.

"We're proving one by one that these women don't belong in detention," Weinberg said." - Elise Foley, Sept. 25, 2014.