US to consider spousal abuse in immigration claims

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals has decided that some Guatemalan women who fled to the United States after being victims of domestic violence may now qualify for asylum.

In a nine-page decision, the board ruled Tuesday that "married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship" can be considered a particular social group in asylum cases.

Asylum law requires applicants to prove they may be persecuted in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. They also have to prove that their home government is either involved in the persecution or unable or unwilling to stop it.

Victims of domestic violence had not been considered a social group before this latest ruling.

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