Obama Supports Asylum for Guatemalan Woman Fleeing Abusive Husband

After fighting in court since 1995, Rody Alvarado Peña's path to political asylum was finally cleared by the Department of Homeland security, which declared she is "eligible for asylum and merits a grant of asylum as a matter of discretion."

In doing so, the Obama administration took a huge step towards clarifying the the legal grounds on which foreign women who suffer abuse in their home countries could seek protection here in the United States. Ms. Musalo, director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at Hastings College of the Law at the University of California, told the NY Times that Ms. Alvarado’s “has been the iconic case of domestic abuse as a basis for asylum.” While Jayne Fleming, a lawyer specializing in asylum at the Reed Smith law firm in San Francisco notes that immigration judges “now have some pretty solid guidelines from D.H.S.”

Alvarado was relieved that her case may make it easier for other abused women to seek asylum in the United states, but admitted that the 14 year ordeal has been trying. “I thank God it came out well. But it wasn’t easy to wait this long for immigration to make a decision.”