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Language Access: Complying with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act


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Title: Language Access: Complying with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Language Access Complying with Title VI of the
1964 Civil Rights Act
  • Isela Arras
  • Immigration Project Administrator
  • KDVA
  • (502) 209-5382 ext. 21

Learning Objectives for 4.2
  • 1. Define language accessibility
  • 2. Explain the proper way to use an interpreter

The Goal
All staff serve all persons. All persons receive
equal services. Agency Responsibility!
Title VI
  • Federal Fund Recipients
  • Language National Origin
  • Meaningful Access / Competent Language Services

Responsibilities of FFR
  • Meaningful Access
  • Notice
  • Policy / Procedure
  • Periodic Training and Monitoring
  • Multilingual Materials
  • Competent Interpreters / Translators

(No Transcript)
When to use an Interpreter
  • Persons who cannot speak, read, write or
    understand the English language at a level that
    permits them to interact effectively with
  • Persons who request an interpreter
  • May understand more than speak
  • May speak more than understand
  • Language proficiency decreases in crisis

Interpretation Options
  • Telephone Interpretation Services
  • Language Advocates
  • Multilingual Staff
  • Volunteer Interpreters
  • Paid Interpreters

Interpreter vs. Translator
  • Interpreter
  • Translator
  • Language is important!
  • Skill
  • Linguistic ability

Competent Interpreters / Translators
  • Cost and Available resources
  • Distinctions
  • Code of ethics (Quality and Professionalism)
  • Role of the interpreter
  • Non-bilingual provider guidelines

Who should NOT Interpret?
Who should NOT Interpret? (Cont)
  • Family member of a victim
  • Family member of a perpetrator
  • Friend of the family
  • Interpreter used by the perpetrator
  • Perpetrator

Who Should Interpret?
  • Someone who has a commitment to interpreter
  • Received training in interpreter skills
  • Proficient in both languages.
  • Non Judgmental
  • Adult

The Role of the Interpreter
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
Guidelines for Non-bilingual Staff
  • Begin with a pre-session
  • Speak directly to the person
  • Do not permit side conversations
  • Purposeful seating
  • Maintain Control

Three Presumptions
(No Transcript)
Language Access and U Visas Serving Immigrant
and Refugee Victims Effectively
  • Gretchen Hunt, Esq.
  • Training Coordinator
  • Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs

Goals of workshop
  • Become familiar with language access, cultural
    considerations and immigration protections as
    potential options for your clients
  • Review the kinds of documentation needed for the
    immigration case
  • Understand the process of applying for relief
    from Immigration (or why does it take so long?)

  • Provide more safety and stability to immigrant
  • Strengthen ability of law enforcement to enforce
  • Inform more victims of their rights
  • Reduce power of abusers to use threats of

What are the barriers to immigrants and refugees
reporting sexual assault and domestic violence in
your area?
  • Your Responses

The Role of an Advocate
  • To inform client of options
  • To support client
  • To connect client with attorney other necessary
    resources (e.g. counseling)
  • It is not the advocates job to file the
    immigration case or contact immigration

Cultural Considerations
  • Culturally Competent premises in our work with
    survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
  • All persons have the right to live free from
  • The perpetrator is responsible for the violence.
  • All victims have the right to safety and
    self-determination, including staying.
  • Domestic violence, sexual assault, and violence
    against women are present in all cultures,
    cutting across race, ethnicity, class, sexual
    identity, religion, etc.
  • Culture is not an excuse for violence.
  • All cultures are contradictory in that there is
    both widespread acceptance of domestic violence /
    sexual assault and traditions of resistance and
  • Each survivor is not only a member of his/ her
    community, but a unique individual with their own
    responses. The complexity of a persons response
    to domestic violence is shaped by multiple
  • Differences exist both between and within
  • Just because we perceive someone to be of the
    same culture as ourselves does not mean we can
    make assumptions about their experience.
  • All communities and individuals can take
    preventative action against domestic violence and
    sexual assault.
  • Source Sujata Warrior

National Origin Discrimination
Sources of Law
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
  • National origin discrimination includes language
  • Executive Order of 2000 signed by President
  • Department of Justice LEP Guidance of 2002
  • Agency specific guidance and policy (e.g. DOJ,

Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Prohibits federal funding recipients from
    discrimination based upon race, color or national
  • National origin discrimination includes
    discrimination based on language

Executive Order 13166
  • All recipients of federal funding (including
    contract agencies) must provide language access
    to persons with Limited English Proficiency
  • Must ensure MEANINGFUL ACCESS to services
    applicants and beneficiaries.
  • No difference in services
  • No unreasonable delay in services

What is LEP?
  • Limited English Proficiency
  • English is not primary language
  • Limited ability to read, write, speak or
    understand English
  • Language for LEP individuals can be a barrier to
    accessing  important benefits or services,
    understanding and exercising important  rights,
    complying with applicable responsibilities, or
    understanding  other information provided by
    Federally funded programs and activities. 
  • Determination is by person, not by agency

Policy Guidance 65 Fed. Ref. 50123
  • The Department of Justice tasked with developing
    guidance for agencies
  • Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
    of 1964--National Origin Discrimination Against
    Persons with Limited English Proficiency Policy
  • Spells out concrete requirements
  • Offers tips and guidance to agencies

Policy Guidance
  • Must provide access to LEP individuals
  • Agencies or entities conduct the following
    analysis to determine what is compliance
  • Number or proportion of LEP individuals served or
    encountered in the eligible service population
  • Frequency of contacts
  • The nature and importance of the program,
    activity or services
  • Resources available

What is the Number or Proportion of LEP
Individuals in Your Service Area?
  • Must include language minority populations that
    are eligible for programs or activities but may
    be underserved because of existing  language
  • How determine number of LEP individuals?
  • Census data, data from school systems and from
    community  organizations, and data from state and
    local governments.
  • Community  agencies, school systems, religious
    organizations, legal aid entities,  and others
    can often assist in identifying populations for
    whom  outreach is needed and who would benefit
    from the recipients' programs  and activities
    were language services provided.

What is the Frequency of Contact with LEP Persons
within your Agency?
  • LEP persons contacting agency on a daily basis
    means higher responsibilities
  • But even recipients  that serve LEP persons on an
    unpredictable or infrequent basis should have a
    plan to provide access
  • EX being prepared to use telephonic
    interpretation services to obtain  immediate
    interpreter services.
  • Recipients  should take care to consider whether
    appropriate outreach to LEP  persons could
    increase the frequency of contact with LEP
    language  groups.

What is the Nature and Importance of the Program,
Activity, or Service  Provided by your Program?
  • Will the denial or delay of  access to services
    or information have serious or even life-
    threatening implications for the LEP individual?
  • Ex safety, law enforcement services or
    services that impacts rights vs. recreational or
    less urgent services

What Resources Are Available?
  • Cost is not defense to non-compliance, but
    programs can look to cost-sharing strategies
  • Share resources with other community groups
  • Train bilingual staff to act as interpreters and
  • Use telephonic and video conferencing
    interpretation services
  • Pool resources and  standardize documents to
    reduce translation needs
  • Use qualified  translators and interpreters to
    ensure that documents need not be fixed'' later
    and that inaccurate interpretations do not cause
    delay  or other costs
  • Develop formal use of qualified  community

Oral vs. Written Options
  • Recipients have two main ways to provide
    language  services
  • Oral interpretation either in person or via
    telephone  interpretation service.
  • Written translation, likewise, can  range from
    translation of an entire document to translation
    of a short  description of the document.
  • Need to translate VITAL DOCUMENTS
  • Example A police department in a largely
    Hispanic neighborhood may  need immediate oral
    interpreters available and should give serious 
    consideration to hiring some bilingual staff.

Competency of Interpreters
  • Demonstrate proficiency in and ability to
    communicate information  accurately in both
    English and in the other language
  • Identify and  employ the appropriate mode of
    interpreting (e.g., consecutive,  simultaneous,
    summarization, or sight translation)    
  • Have knowledge in both languages of any
    specialized terms or  concepts peculiar to the
    entity's program or activity
  • Understand and follow confidentiality and
    impartiality rules
  • Understand and adhere to their role as
    interpreters without  deviating into a role as
    counselor, legal advisor, or other roles 
    (particularly in court, administrative hearings,
    or law enforcement  contexts)

  • Children Putting a child in the middle of a
    parental conflict creates incredible pressure on
    the child, who is likely to feel torn regarding
    whom to side with the child may be fearful of
    the batterer and feel pressured to interpret in
    his failure children may not have vocabulary
    sufficient to translate legal information to the
  • Family member of the victim Despite the fact
    that a family member of the victim offers to
    volunteer, he or she may be blaming the victim
    for the abuse and not have a sufficient
    understanding of domestic violence to effectively
    provide support to the victim. The family member
    also might exaggerate the victims testimony in
    order to support her, which can lead to
    discrediting the victim-witness on
    cross-examination. Additionally, the family
    member might not have sufficient vocabulary to
    translate legal information to the victim.

  • Family member of the perpetrator/primary
    aggressor A family member of the
    perpetrator/primary aggressor could intentionally
    volunteer to interpret in order to control what
    the victim says or manipulate the victims words.
    A family member of the defendant might blame the
    victim for the abuse. The family member also
    might not have a sufficient understanding of
    domestic violence to effectively provide support
    to the victim.
  • Friend of the family As with family members, a
    friend who offers to interpret may wish to
    control what the victim says, reporting back tot
    he family what the victim is saying or blaming
    the victim for the abuse. A friend might not
    have a sufficient understanding of domestic
    violence to effectively provide support to the
    victim. He or she also might not have sufficient
    vocabulary to translate legal information to the
  • Interpreter used by the perpetrator / primary
    aggressor A person who interprets for the
    batterer should not be asked or allowed to
    interpret for the victim. This would create a
    significant risk of replicating the dynamic of
    power and control that is used in a battering
    relationship. It could also inhibit what the
    victim is willing to discuss with the court and
    with court personnel.
  • Source Cultural Considerations in Domestic
    Violence Cases. Family Violence Prevention

Timeliness of Services
  • Interpretation should  be provided in a timely
  • Language assistance  should be provided at a time
    and place that avoids the effective denial  of
    the service, benefit, or right at issue or the
    imposition of an  undue burden on or delay in
    important rights, benefits, or services to  the
    LEP person.
  • In providing law enforcement, health, and safety
    services, and when important legal  rights are at
    issue, a recipient would likely not be providing 
    meaningful access if it had one bilingual staffer
    available one day a  week to provide the service
  • In cases involving victims, timeliness is of the
    utmost importance !

Implementation of Language Access Plan
  1. Identifying individuals who have limited English
    proficiency and need assistance
  2. Deciding on the ways to provide language
  3. Training Staff
  4. Notifying persons with limited English
  5. Monitoring and updating the policy

Examples of Prohibited Practices
  • Language Access Plan that provides only for
    services in Spanish (failure to adequately assess
    needs in area)
  • Asking client to bring own interpreter
  • Having a plan in place but failing in
    implementation (staff are not trained, do not
    know of policy, are not authorized to access
  • Providing unequal access (interpreter on site one
    day a week, Hispanic court day)
  • Using children as interpreters for provision of
    services dealing with safety or rights

Complaint Procedure
  • Complaint form through Office of Civil Rights,
    Compliance and Review
  • Department of Justice will look favorably on
    intermediate steps that recipients take given
    that compliance will take time

Additional Legal Concerns
  • Confidentiality
  • Agencys own policy
  • Violation of other duties
  • Ex Law enforcement in domestic violence
    situations has duty to provide information to
    victim about victim services and rights
  • Crime Victim Bill of Rights

  • Know Your Rights brochures in different languages
  • I SPEAK Cards to identify language
  • Policy guidance for specific agencies
  • Demographic data
  • Model programs

Basic Access to Services
  • Access to Services Necessary to Life and Safety
    All individuals present in the United States,
    including undocumented immigrants, are guaranteed
    access to services necessary to life and
  • Source ( Attorney General Order No. 2353-2001,
    Final Specification of Community Programs
    Necessary for Protection of Life or Safety Under
    Welfare Reform Legislation.)
  • Among those services are access to EMS, police,
    fire, child and adult protective services,
    domestic violence and rape crisis programs, short
    term emergency housing, emergency medical care
    and vaccinations and treatment for communicable
  • Agencies that deny such services risk violating
    civil rights and fair housing laws.

Immigration Options for Victims
  • Battered Spouse Waiver for conditional residents
  • VAWA Self-Petitioning for Abused Spouses and
    Children of US Citizens/Lawful Permanent
  • U Visa for victims of serious crimes
  • T Visa for victims of severe form of trafficking
    in persons
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile petition for children
    who are in foster care/guardianship due to abuse,
    abandonment or neglect
  • Gender Based Asylum

  • Screens for immigration history
  • Identifies problem areas/red flags
  • Identifies possible immigration remedies
  • Should be faxed/sent to immigration attorney ASAP

A Little Herstory
  • Marriage Fraud Amendment (1990) Battered spouse
    waiver for conditional residents
  • VAWA 1994 Congress created self-petitioning for
    spouses and children of abusive U.S. citizen or
    Lawful Permanent Resident spouses or parents
  • Victims did not have to choose between staying
    silent in an abusive relationship and being

Conditional Resident Waiver
  • Individual has married to USC for less than 2
  • When spouse petitions for non-citizen spouse, she
    receives conditional residency, good for two
  • Husband and wife must jointly file to remove this
    condition and make her green card permanent.
  • However, there are waivers of joint filing
  • if marriage was in good faith but was terminated
    due to divorce
  • if spouse was subject to battery or extreme
  • if non-citizen would suffer extreme hardship if
    forced to return to home country

VAWA Self-Petitioning
  • Some spouses and children of US citizens or
    lawful permanent residents, however, have never
    had anything filed on their behalf by the
  • Undocumented women and children who have been
    subjected to battering or extreme cruelty by a
    spouse or parent (USC or LPR) may self-petition
    for their permanent residency.
  • If unmarried, but have child in common, may also
    be able to apply.
  • Even if divorced, may apply within two years of
    the divorce.

Elements of Self-petition
  • Identity and that of their children (children may
    be included on mothers application)
  • Identity and status of spouse
  • Good Faith Marriage
  • Residence with Abusive Spouse
  • Residence in USA (or if outside, residence with
    military spouse)
  • Battering and Extreme Cruelty
  • Good Moral Character

Battering and Extreme Cruelty
  • Being the victim of any act or threatened act of
    violence, including any forceful detention, which
    results or threatens to result in physical or
    mental injury. . .acts of violence include
    psychological or sexual abuse or exploitation,
    including rape, molestation, incest, or forced
    prostitution as well as other abusive actions
    that, in and of themselves, may not initially
    appear violent but that are part of an overall
    pattern of violence.
  • Actions against some other person or thing may
    also qualify if these acts were deliberately used
    to perpetrate extreme cruelty against the
    self-petitioner or the self-petitioning spouses

  • Affidavit or history of client, detailing all
    incidents of abuse
  • Affidavit of domestic violence counselor
  • FAP records
  • Military or other protective order
  • Police Reports (need to use interpreter to get
    detailed information)
  • Hospital Records
  • Shelter Records (because of CISs strict
    confidentiality, batterer may never obtain
  • Affidavits of friends and family members
  • Diaries, photos of abuse and destruction of

Affidavit of Advocate
  • Important tool in documenting abuse when there is
    little primary evidence (photos, police reports,
    hospital records)
  • Includes counselors back ground in DV/SA
  • Details counselors interaction with survivor,
    including assessment of credibility of client and
    of clients good moral character

Good Moral Character
  • Need to avoid mutual protective orders, findings
    of abuse or neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, and
    any arrests for criminal activity
  • Waivers for good moral character problems and
    crimes of domestic violence may be available if
    applicant can show
  • not primary aggressor and
  • violation of protective order designed to protect
  • acting in self-defenseor
  • crime not result in serious injury

Immigration Documents
  • Form I-360 ( or fee waiver)
  • Form I-765 ( or fee waiver)
  • Form I-485 ( or fee waiver)
  • After submitted, and prima facie notice is
    issued, eligible for public benefits
  • May request additional documentation
  • When approved, work permit is issued, and/or

U Visa A Long Road
  • Created in 2000
  • Regulations implementing the visa were not issued
    until 9/17/07 (effective date 10/17/07)
  • Before regulations, victims could apply for
    interim relief of deferred action, which would
    enable them to apply for employment
    authorization. Ended 10/17/07
  • A victim from Kentucky was one of the first to
    receive interim relief in the country!

U Visa Requirements
  • Alien is victim of qualifying crime/criminal
  • Suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as
    a result
  • Criminal activity occurred in US or violated US
  • Alien (or in case of alien under 16, parent,
    guardian or next friend) possesses information
    concerning criminal activity
  • Alien (or child under 16, parent, guardian or
    next friend) has been helpful, is being helpful,
    or is likely to be helpful to federal, state or
    local authorities investigating or prosecuting
    the crime

Direct Victim
  • 8 CFR 214.14 (a)(14)
  • Victim directly and proximately harmed by
    qualifying criminal activity
  • Example Irena, a 22 year old undocumented
    housekeeper, was raped by her employer. She
    calls the police, goes for a rape exam and
    provides testimony leading to a plea deal by the

Indirect Victims
  • 1) Parent, legal guardian or other family member
    of child under 16 may apply for principal U
  • Example Ivan Cano case in Louisville, KY, where
    mother of abducted four year old boy (who was a
    U.S. citizen) cooperated with law enforcement in
    his murder investigation and prosecution.
  • 2) Bystander, unrelated to direct victim if
    witnessing the crime led to direct injuries
  • Example Pregnant woman witnesses shooting and
    is so traumatized she suffers a miscarriage.

Witness Tampering, obstruction of justice and
  • Who is a victim of these crimes?
  • Individuals who are harmed when a perpetrator
    commits one of these 3 crimes in order to avoid
    or frustrate the efforts of law enforcement
  • OR individuals who are harmed when the
    perpetrator uses the legal system to exploit or
    impose control over them
  • NOTE No nexus required with one of the other
    enumerated crimes

Culpability of Victim
  • A person who is culpable for the qualifying
    criminal activity being investigated or
    prosecuted is EXCLUDED from being considered a
  • Does not exclude all individuals who have
    committed crimes
  • Ex victim who agrees to be smuggled into the
    U.S. but then is held in involuntary servitude is
    still a victim

  • Can apply within the U.S. or from abroad at U.S.
  • If principal applicant is over 21, spouse and
    children are derivatives
  • If under 21, spouse, parents and brothers and
    sisters (18 at age of filing principal petition)

  • Rape Being held hostage
  • Torture Peonage
  • Trafficking Involuntary servitude
  • Incest Slave trade
  • Domestic violence Kidnapping
  • Sexual assault Abduction
  • Abusive sexual contact Unlawful criminal
  • Prostitution restraint
  • Sexual exploitation False imprisonment
  • Female genital mutilation

Crimes, continued
  • Blackmail
  • Extortion
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Felonious assault
  • Witness Tampering
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Perjury
  • Attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any
    of these crimes
  • or any other similar activity also encompassed
    by statute for related, non-enumerated crimes

Occurred in U.S. or violated U.S. law
  • Includes U.S. territories
  • Includes Indian lands and military bases
  • Crime may have occurred overseas and violated
    U.S. law with extrajudicial reach (ex sexual
    abuse of minor overseas)

Possesses Information
  • Has knowledge and details about crime of which
    the person is a victim
  • If under 16, incapacitated or incompetent,
    parent, guardian or next friend may possess
  • Law enforcement may end up charging other crime
  • Ex Victim of domestic violence calls 911 and
    reports crime to police. While there, police
    discover narcotics and charge perpetrator with
    drug crimes, rather than domestic violence.
    Victim can still be certified.

Suffered Substantial Physical or Emotional Abuse
  • Injury or harm to the victims physical person or
  • Harm to or impairment of the emotional or
    psychological soundness of the victim
  • Substantial refers to either severity of injury
    suffered by victim or the severity of the abuse
    inflicted by the perpetrator

Substantial Physical or Mental Abuse (continued)
  • Case by case approach using several factors
  • Nature of injury inflicted or suffered
  • Severity of perpetrators conduct
  • Severity of harm suffered
  • Duration of the infliction of the harm
  • Extent to which there is permanent or serious
    harm to the appearance, health or physical or
    mental soundness of the victim
  • Pre-existing physical or mental injury of victim
  • Series of acts that occur over time--consider in

  • Certifying agencies
  • Local, state, federal law enforcement
  • Prosecutor
  • Judge
  • Child Protective Services
  • Equal Opportunity Commission
  • Department of Labor

  • Certifying official
  • Head of agency
  • Designated supervisor
  • What does the agency certify?
  • Victim of crime
  • Possesses information about crime or criminal
  • Crime occurred in U.S or violated U.S. law
  • Helpfulness

  • Detection, Investigation or Prosecution
    (including conviction and sentencing)
  • Has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely
    to be helpful in investigation OR prosecution
  • Victim may apply at different stages of the
    investigation or prosecution
  • Prosecution may not be possible in all situation

Ongoing requirement for helpfulness
  • Victim cannot refuse to cooperate
  • Recanting victim cannot apply (but make sure that
    another crime has not occurred, e.g. witness
  • CERTIFICATE can be withdrawn and U Visa status
    revoked if victim does not cooperate

  • Applicant (and derivatives) must be admissible to
    the United States
  • May seek waiver of grounds of inadmissibility
    EXCEPT the ground applicable to participants in
    Nazi persecutions, genocide, acts of torture or
    extrajudicial killings

  • Form I-192
  • Waiver available if in public or national
  • Discretionary decision
  • Balance adverse factors with social and humane
    considerations present
  • Favorable discretion should not be exercised for
    waivers involving violent or dangerous crimes,
    except in extraordinary circumstances

Victim Statement
  • Should include
  • Nature of criminal activity
  • When the criminal activity occurred
  • Who was responsible
  • Events surrounding the criminal activity
  • How the criminal activity came to be investigated
    or prosecuted
  • What substantial physical or mental abuse was
    suffered as a result of having been the victim of
    criminal activity

Additional Documentation
  • Police reports, court records of disposition
  • Protective orders
  • Letters from counselors, friends, childs
    teacher, pastors
  • Shelter records
  • Photographs taken to document physical abuse
  • News articles (if crime received media attention)
  • Hospital records
  • Other documents showing cooperation and abuse

U Visa Application
  • Form I-918 ( or fee waiver request)
  • Supplement A (qualifying family members)
  • Supplement B (law enforcement certificate)
  • Fingerprinting
  • Applicable waivers
  • Victim Statement
  • Other Supporting Documentation
  • Filed at Vermont Service Center, VAWA Unit
  • 10,000 cap each year (not include derivatives)

If U Visa approved
  • Non-Immigrant Visa for up to four years
  • Authorization to work
  • Can apply to adjust status in 3 years if in
    public interest, family unity or humanitarian

Adjustment of Status
  • After three years
  • Application fee waivers
  • Must not have unreasonably refused to provide
    assistance in a criminal investigation or
  • Admissibility
  • Discretionary decision
  • Humanitarian grounds
  • To ensure family unity or
  • In the public interest

  • Visa available for victims of severe form of
    trafficking in persons
  • Need certification of law enforcement
  • Must comply with all reasonable requests of law
    enforcement (if 18 or over)
  • Present in US on account of trafficking
  • Would face extreme hardship of an unusual nature
    if removed
  • 4 year visa apply for permanent residency after
    three years of continuous presence person of
    good moral character
  • Family members may be included

T VISA Process
  • I- (fee or fee waiver request)
  • I-485 adjustment of status application (after 3

Gender Based Asylum
  • Door Opens for Battered Immigrant Women Seeking
  • In a case involving a Mexican woman seeking to
    escape brutal domestic violence in her home
    country, Obama
  • Administration officials have taken a position
    that may open a door to asylum in the United
    States for some victims of
  • severe abuse. The Family Violence Prevention
    Fund, Center for Gender and Refugees Studies, and
    other advocates for
  • victims of violence have long advocated this kind
    of move. The cautious position was laid out in a
    legal brief from the
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this spring
    in the case of L.R., a Mexican woman who
    requested asylum
  • because she feared her common-law husband would
    kill her. The brief only recently became public.
  • L.R. is a teacher whose husband repeatedly raped
    her at gunpoint, held her captive, stole her
    earnings, and tried to
  • burn her alive when he discovered that she was
    pregnant. Local police dismissed her reports of
    violence, and a judge
  • from whom she sought help tried to seduce her,
    the court papers say. DHS did not recommend
    immediate asylum for
  • L.R., but in its brief government lawyers
    conclude that it is possible that L.R. and
    other applicants who have
  • experienced domestic violence could quality for
    asylum. That may open a narrow path for some
    battered women to
  • receive asylum in the United States. The brief
    argues that abused women who can show that they
    are treated as
  • subordinates or property by their abusers, in a
    country where domestic abuse is widely tolerated
    and no institutions
  • provide protection, should be granted asylum. The
    change does not affect women fleeing female
    genital cutting,
  • whose cases have been accepted in the law since

Gender Based Asylum (continued)
  • At present, U.S. law requires that any applicant
    for asylum or refugee status demonstrate a well-
  • founded fear of persecution based on race,
    religion, nationality, political opinion or
    membership in a
  • particular social group. Victims of gender-based
    violence are often not persecuted for their race,
  • religion, nationality or political opinion, so in
    order to win asylum they need to be recognized as
  • members of a social group. When the government
    declines to find them to
  • be social group members, they are denied asylum
    or left in limbo.
  • One such person is Rody Alvarado Peña, who came
    to the United States from Guatemala in 1995 after
  • suffering vicious abuse at the hands of her
    husband for more than a decade. At age 16,
  • Peña had married a career soldier who raped and
    beat her, broke mirrors over her head, caused her
  • to miscarry, and beat her unconsciousness.
    Divorce was impossible without her abusive
  • consent, and with no shelters or other supports
    available, Alvarado Peña fled to the United
  • She was granted asylum in 1996, but in the years
    since immigration courts have made conflicting
  • rulings that left her in limbo.

Special Immigrant Juvenile
  • Under 21 and unmarried
  • Committed to state custody (foster
    care/guardianship) due to abuse, abandonment or
  • Eligible for long term foster care/no hope for
  • May apply for permanent residency
  • Form I-360

Legal Services
  • International Center
  • 806 Kenton Street
  • Bowling Green, KY
  • (270) 781-8336
  • Catholic Charities
  • Office of Immigration Services
  • 2911 S. Fourth Street
  • Louisville, KY 40208
  • (502) 637-9097
  • Kentucky Refugee Ministries
  • 969B Cherokee Rd.
  • Louisville, KY 40204
  • phone 502.479.9180
  • fax 502.479.9190
  • Legal Aid of the Bluegrass
  • 859-233-4558

Additional Resources
  • ASISTA, http//
  • Family Violence Prevention Fund,
  • Immigrant Legal Resource Center,
  • Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human

Immigrant Women Workers Resources
  • Sexual Harassment http//
    sexual_harassment.cfm (complaints, filing
  • Exploitation of Immigrant Women Workers
    Injustice on Our PlatesImmigrant Women in the US
    Food Industry,
  • KY Labor Cabinet http//
    Home.aspx (wage and hour laws, filing a
  • Language Access (guidance,
    resources, filing a complaint)
  • ICE Raids/Know Your Rights http//
  • Immigration Protections for Victims (technical assistance,

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