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Deborah Anker

  • Harvard immigration and Refugee logo

    Years of advocacy by HIRC culminate in landmark decision by First Circuit

    April 29, 2020

    Years of advocacy by Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program have culminated in a landmark decision recognizing gender as basis for asylum claims.

  • Sabrineh Ardalan '02

    Sabrineh Ardalan named clinical professor of law and faculty director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

    January 28, 2020

    Sabrineh Ardalan ’02, who teaches in the fields of immigration and refugee law and advocacy, was appointed a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program.

  • Photograph of Brianna Rennix '18 outside leaning on a porch ledge.

    Prepared for the Challenge

    January 7, 2020

    As students, they participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. As lawyers, they have continued the work in a field that is increasingly challenging—and fulfilling

  • Mark Fleming '97 standing in a crosswalk with cars behind him

    Mark Fleming ’97

    January 7, 2020

    Five cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Twenty-two years of work as a lawyer. And still, Mark Fleming will never forget the woman from…

  • Gianna Borroto '11 sitting in a green room posing

    Gianna Borroto ’11

    January 7, 2020

    Every week, the woman from Guatemala would bring her children. First, she would settle them into chairs to play with their toys. Then the woman,…

  • Trump Seeking to Effectively Outsource Asylum Seekers to Guatemala

    July 16, 2019

    The Trump administration is on the verge of signing a “safe third country” agreement with Guatemala, sources have confirmed to the Prospect. Asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States would be forced to file in Guatemala instead, on the grounds that it would be the first “safe” country they arrived in. Because most asylum seekers are coming from the south, this would allow the U.S. to send thousands of asylum seekers at the southern border back to Guatemala, and render them ineligible to apply for refugee status in the U.S...But experts like Deborah Anker, a Harvard law professor who focuses on asylum, believe that the flow of migrants would eventually continue. She tells the Prospect: “The reality is that people will keep trying to find a way to come because it’s a life or death situation for them and their families. But the Trump administration is trying to get around this by having this agreement.”

  • The Republican proposal to change the U.S. asylum system, explained

    January 24, 2019

    A proposal from Senate Republicans to end the partial government shutdown includes not only the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump seeks for a border barrier with Mexico, but also landmark changes to the U.S. asylum system. It’s uncertain if the proposal — in its current form — would pass the Senate or get approval from the U.S. House of Representatives. Democratic leaders in Congress have already come out against the proposal. ... International law says that a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention/Protocol (Article 33) cannot return a refugee to a country where he or she faces persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, said Deborah Anker, a clinical professor of law, founder and director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at Harvard Law School. "If the United States turns away people at the border, or from within the United States, it is violating the Convention/Protocol," Anker said.

  • For a Jamaican couple, a broken asylum system makes church sanctuary both refuge and jail

    January 22, 2019

    Why are more immigrants trying to avoid deportation by taking sanctuary in Philly than any other major city in the U.S.? Reporters Laura Benshoff and Jeff Gammage answer that question in a two-part series on WHYY’s The Why, in partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer. ...Asylum initially grew out of the Holocaust and the Cold War, the first underscoring the need for international human-rights protections, the second revealing a useful foreign-policy tool. Accepting the fleeing citizens of its enemies served humanitarian ends and gave America legitimate reason to gloat on the world stage. On the other hand, people running from governments friendly to the U.S. had a difficult time getting asylum, according to Deborah Anker, a law professor at the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program.

  • Trump announces plan to block some migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, offers few details

    November 2, 2018

    President Trump said Thursday he intends to take executive action next week to end the “abuse” of the U.S. asylum system, a plan that could include “massive tent cities” at the southern border aimed at holding migrants indefinitely and making it more difficult for them to remain in the country...“He can’t by executive fiat repeal an act of Congress or a constitutional amendment,” said Deborah Anker, a Harvard Law School professor. “He has to ask for new legislation.”

  • HIRC director Deborah Anker receives NGO Lawyer of the Year award

    HIRC director Deborah Anker receives NGO Lawyer of the Year award

    August 8, 2018

    The founder and director of Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic Deborah Anker LL.M. ’84 received the Federal Bar Association’s NGO Lawyer of the Year Joint Award on May 18. She was honored alongside Karen Musalo, director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at Hastings College of the Law.

  • Phil Torrey on 'crimmigration'

    Phil Torrey on ‘crimmigration’

    June 22, 2018

    ‘Crimmigration’—the intersection of criminal and immigration law—is the newest policy area for the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC). In addition to its broader advocacy clinic, HIRC offers Phil Torrey’s crimmigration clinic in the spring: an opportunity for students to gain direct experience working on and contributing to case law in this young field.

  • “Crimmigration”

    June 19, 2018

    "It often happens," says Phil Torrey, managing attorney of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC), “that I’ll get a phone call from criminal-defense counsel somewhere random in the country, like the one last week I got from Tennessee. The lawyer says, ‘Hey, I’m about to go into the courtroom, here’s the plea deal that’s on the table—and my client’s not a U.S. citizen. What’s gonna happen?’” Torrey is addressing the four law students in his “crimmigration” clinic, who are learning how to advocate for criminal defendants who are not American citizens...In addition to its broader Immigration and Refugee Advocacy clinic, HIRC offers Torrey’s crimmigration clinic in the spring: an opportunity for students to gain direct experience working on and contributing to case law in this young field. When she co-founded HIRC in 1984, says clinical professor of law Deborah Anker, it “was at the bottom of the pile”; immigration issues were barely recognized as a subfield of law. But student interest has spiked since the 2016 election, and now, she says, the Immigration and Refugee Advocacy clinic has one of “the longest waiting lists among [HLS] clinics—about 100 students.”...As Nancy Kelly, a clinical instructor and lecturer on law, puts it, Donald Trump “ran on a platform of immigrants being criminals, and now he’s doing his best to make that a reality.”... The clinic hired a staff attorney, Jason Corral, in January 2017 to represent members of the University community; soon after, a number of additional Trump administration executive orders affected various Harvard students and staff members: the ban on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries (HIRC wrote an amicus brief challenging that order), the repeal of DACA (now under challenge in courts), and the revocation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 400,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, and, most recently, Honduras...If the repeal proceeds without challenge, Corral says, HIRC may consider building asylum arguments for TPS holders.

  • ‘You Can’t Deter People Who Are Fleeing For Their Lives’: Attorneys Scramble After Sessions’ Asylum Decision

    June 13, 2018

    Immigration attorneys in Greater Boston are scrambling this week after a decision from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned a precedent determining who is eligible for asylum in the United States. Survivors of domestic violence and gang persecution, in many cases, were considered legitimate candidates for asylum — until now. Many immigration attorneys say the attorney general's decision is devastating...Deborah Anker has been working on asylum cases with domestic violence survivors for decades. She's the founder and director of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. Anker said the decision from Sessions is a big blow, but she believes attorneys can still prove the need for asylum in some cases. But, she said, it's going to take a lot more work. "I think we will be very careful to submit extensive country condition evidence, condition evidence about the positions of different governments regarding women, and we'll be thinking through, carefully, other grounds for protection."

  • The Trump Administration is Completely Unravelling the U.S. Asylum System

    June 12, 2018

    On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that a Salvadoran woman who came to the U.S. in 2014 to escape an abusive husband did not qualify for asylum under United States law. An immigration court had previously granted her asylum, allowing her to remain in the country legally, but Sessions reconsidered the finding, as part of a broader rethinking of whether or not victims of domestic abuse can qualify for protection under U.S. asylum law. The decision means that the U.S. can now begin to turn away tens of thousands of women who arrive in this country every year, seeking safety from violence and abuse at home. “He could be repealing sixty to seventy per cent of asylum jurisprudence,” Deborah Anker, an immigration expert at Harvard Law School, told me, speaking about Sessions, before the decision was announced. “Its ramifications are extraordinary.”

  • This Salvadoran Woman Is At The Center Of The Attorney General’s Asylum Crackdown

    May 22, 2018

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions is stirring panic in immigrant communities by moving to limit who can get asylum in the United States. Perhaps no one is more alarmed than one Salvadoran woman living in the Carolinas. Now Sessions has personally intervened in her case, questioning whether she and other crime victims deserve protection and a path to American citizenship. The attorney general has been highly critical of the asylum system in recent months. Now Sessions has personally intervened in her case, questioning whether she and other crime victims deserve protection and a path to American citizenship. The attorney general has been highly critical of the asylum system in recent months...Over the years, immigration lawyers in the U.S. have argued that all sorts of people deserve asylum as persecuted members of a "particular social group." "There was a beginning of a shift, and a new awareness that women could get asylum, and that rape was a form of harm that constituted persecution," said Deborah Anker, a professor at Harvard Law School and the founding director of the Harvard Immigration Refugee Clinical program.

  • Exterior of the WCC

    HIRC files amicus brief challenging U.S. Attorney General’s efforts to restrict gender asylum

    May 1, 2018

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program joined the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Human Rights First and Kids in Need of Defense in filing a brief of amicus curiae in the case Matter of A-B-, a case that originated in immigration court but that is now before review of the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

  • Trump administration tries to curb asylum

    April 2, 2018

    ...Now President Donald Trump’s administration is reframing how the nation admits refugees, reducing who can come here and making it tougher to apply for protection. It is playing out not through congressional action or public announcement, but in policy tweaks and guidelines that together make up an overhaul...Sessions, in a speech last fall to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the agency over the courts, criticized “case law that has expanded the concept of asylum well beyond Congressional intent —created even more incentives for illegal aliens to come here and claim a fear of return.” Deborah Anker, a Harvard Law School professor who specializes in asylum, said Sessions’ office declined to identify the decision he was reviewing, initially leaving lawyers without a way to respond to his request for arguments. “It was unprecedented,” she said. “The attorney general by executive action appears to want to be overturning the statute as it relates to asylum.”

  • Concern over a DACA deadline

    Concern over a DACA deadline

    February 28, 2018

    Three Harvard professors and a Ph.D. student in African and African American studies have launched the DACA Seminar, a series of events on campus aimed at sparking conversations about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and immigration policy and reform, while working to understand options available to Harvard's undocumented students.

  • San Diego Ports Of Entry Pause Entry Of New Asylum Seekers

    January 2, 2018

    Asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. through Tijuana are out of luck for now, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reached capacity at its San Diego ports of entry, an agency spokesman told KPBS in an email on Wednesday...Deborah Anker, a clinical professor of law and founder of the Harvard Law School's Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, said the move is a violation of Article 33 of the 1951 Refugee Convention. "There's no question that this violates the statute, it violates our treaty obligations," she said. "You can't turn people away at the border. That's very fundamental ... It's not a gray area."

  • Jane Mallei: Women refugees and why law matters

    Women refugees and why law matters

    October 20, 2017

    In many ways, Jane's life in Kenya was idyllic: She was an educated, confident professional woman with a flourishing career, raising a daughter whom she loved dearly. There was only one problem in her life: her husband, who had become increasingly violent and abusive in the privacy of their own home.

  • In Crimmigration Clinic victory, Supreme Judicial Court rules state law enforcement lacks ‘detainer’ authority

    August 1, 2017

    In a victory for Harvard Law School’s Crimmigration Clinic, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that state authorities cannot detain someone for a U.S. immigration violation based solely on a Detainer.

  • Refugee kid among tents

    HIRC releases report offering critical recommendations for resettling refugees

    June 28, 2017

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program has released a far-reaching report, “Fulfilling U.S. Commitment to Refugee Resettlement,” that offers critical recommendations for resettling refugees, and recommendations for Congress and the Executive Branch on enhancing security, job creation, and equal treatment for all.

  • Sabrineh Ardalan

    Sabrineh Ardalan named assistant clinical professor of law

    May 31, 2017

    Sabrineh Ardalan ’02, assistant director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program and a lecturer in the fields of immigration and refugee law and advocacy and trauma, refugees, and the law has been appointed assistant clinical professor at Harvard Law School.

  • Mana Azarmi wins CLEA’s Outstanding Clinical Student Award

    May 22, 2017

    Mana Azarmi ’17 is the winner of the Outstanding Clinical Student Award from the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), presented annually to one student from each law school for his/her outstanding clinical coursework and contributions to the clinical community.

  • Malene Alleyne and Jin Kim

    Immigration and Refugee Clinic students testify at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

    March 24, 2017

    On March 21, Harvard Law students Jin Kim '18 and Malene Alleyne LL.M. ’17 traveled to Washington, D.C. on behalf of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) to participate in an emergency hearing on the effects of the Trump administration’s executive orders on immigration at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

  • New Trump travel ban aims to withstand court challenge

    March 7, 2017

    President Trump scaled back his executive order barring migrants from several predominantly Muslim countries Monday, in an attempt to insulate the controversial rules from a flurry of legal challenges and critics. The new executive order, which will be phased in starting March 16, removes Iraq from the list of original list of seven banned countries. The switch came after the Iraqi government, a key ally in the fight against the Islamic State, decried the initial order and worked with the State Department on mutually agreeable vetting procedures...However, Deborah Anker, an immigration law scholar at Harvard and director of Harvard’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical program, said she still expects the order to run into substantial legal challenges.

  • HIRC files amicus curiae brief in NY case against Trump’s executive orders on immigration

    February 17, 2017

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program filed an amicus curiae brief on February 16 in the Eastern District of New York case against President Trump’s executive orders on immigration -- one of several cases currently challenging the president’s actions on immigration.

  • Is the US a ‘safe’ country for refugees? (audio)

    February 15, 2017

    President Donald Trump’s executive order barring US entry by immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations dominated the global conversation. But it’s just one of several important executive orders the Trump administration has made to change the processes and rights available to undocumented people, including refugees, a new report says. Deborah Anker, a Harvard Law School professor and director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, wants to draw attention to the interior and border enforcement executive orders that have not gotten a lot of publicity. What they amount to, she says, is “massive detention and deportation without the priorities set out by previous administrations.” The president “has called for the construction of detention facilities across the southern border,” given agents license to make arrests on the “mere suspicion” of undocumented status and greatly diminished the possibility for appeal. For her, all of these moves are troubling, but it’s most problematic for refugees.

  • Harvard releases report on effect of Trump’s executive orders on asylum seekers

    February 8, 2017

    Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program has released a report on the effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on people seeking asylum protection in the United States under long-standing provisions of U.S. and international law, including refugee law and the Convention Against Torture.

  • Protecting Central American Families: Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic

    February 2, 2017

    An article by Maggie Morgan and Deborah Anker. All Maribel had wanted was to work in a beauty salon in her home country of Honduras, maybe one day doing well enough to open a salon of her own...Several years later, sitting almost 4,000 miles away in a legal office, on a gray day in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Maribel related her story to her attorney in preparation for her asylum hearing. She is one of many tens of thousands of Central American women and children who have fled to the United States since 2014, seeking safety from the unrelenting gang and gender-related violence roiling their home countries. Our attorneys and law students at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) represent Maribel and many clients with similar stories from this region.

  • In the wake of executive orders restricting immigration, HLS clinic provides legal support and advocacy

    February 1, 2017

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program has been addressing the legal concerns of Harvard students, faculty, staff, and individuals affected in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by recent executive action on immigration.

  • Support for the undocumented

    November 29, 2016

    As President-elect Donald Trump puts together the administration that will help transform his campaign pledges — including those on immigration — into action, Harvard’s community is coming together around members who might be affected...The Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, based at Harvard Law School, is also planning a series of “know your rights” information sessions in the weeks to come, as well as specific sessions for students who want to fill out their DACA renewal paperwork, according to Deborah Anker, clinical professor of law and director of the program...Anker advised students to understand their personal situation, as they may qualify for different programs and alternate deferrals. One encouraging fact, Anker said, is that there is a strong pro-immigrant community in the area, with legal clinics not just at Harvard, but also at Boston University, Suffolk University, and Boston College. That community has mobilized quickly, she said, and she expects that as the weeks pass and Inauguration Day nears, a lot of resources will become available for those who need them.

  • Students push for ‘sanctuary campuses’

    November 21, 2016

    UMass Amherst officials, under pressure from students, said on Friday they were committed to making the campus a safe haven for undocumented students, faculty, and staff. But they stopped short of meeting the students’ demand that the school be declared a sanctuary campus...Debbie Anker, a professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, said that while there has been significant amount of research into the issues that crop up in sanctuary cities, a group of Harvard law students is just starting to tease out the details of what it will mean for schools to become sanctuaries. “This is all so new, ” said Anker. “It’s only been a week since the election but already students are coming together to have these conversations, which is heartening.”

  • Another ‘Angry Granny’ on Climate Justice

    November 18, 2016

    In a recent conversation at HLS with Dean Martha Minow, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and U.N. special envoy on El Niño and climate change, told the story of how she came to be an “Angry Granny” on the topic of climate change, starting with her discussions with people in the most deeply affected communities.

  • 15 Years Later: Immigration and 9/11

    September 8, 2016

    By Deborah Anker, Sabrineh Ardalan '02 and Phil TorreyFifteen years later, HIRC continues to represent clients affected by post-9/11 enforcement measures. In addition to winning asylum for hundreds of refugees, HIRC has successfully advocated for the government to release mothers and children from family detention centers in South Texas. Continue Reading »

  • Limitations on the undocumented

    June 24, 2016

    A deadlocked Supreme Court dealt a major blow to President Obama’s executive actions to grant relief from deportation to nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The 4-4 tie in U.S. v. Texas, a challenge by that state and 25 others against Obama’s executive actions, leaves in place an injunction by a lower court that blocked the government from implementing two programs that would protect both children and their parents from deportation. “I’m disappointed,” said Deborah Anker, clinical professor of law and director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at Harvard Law School. “What this means is that it puts hundreds of thousands of people at risk of deportation, including parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents.”...Phil Torrey, lecturer on law with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program and the supervising attorney for the Harvard Immigration Project, hopes the ruling will help galvanize the movement for immigration reform. “Hopefully it will continue to energize the movement to push for comprehensive reform, especially with elections coming forward,” he said.

  • Harvard Law human rights experts react to Supreme Court deadlock, deportation risk

    June 24, 2016

    Deborah Anker and Phil Torrey weigh in on the 4-4 Supreme Court tie that dealt a major blow to President Obama’s executive actions to grant relief from deportation to undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.--putting, according to Anker, 'hundreds of thousands of people at risk of deportation, including parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents.'

  • HLS faculty maintain top position in SSRN citation rankings

    Clinical program receives grant from Milstein Foundation to launch Syrian Refugee Resettlement Project

    June 10, 2016

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program has received a generous grant from the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation to launch the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Project.

  • Why A Single Question Decides The Fates Of Central American Migrants

    February 26, 2016

    ...Like the thousands of Central Americans who increasingly are seeking asylum in the United States, Trejo's future will be determined by how a judge interprets one sentence from a law passed in 1980. It puts him smack in the middle of a debate fraught with politics and argued in a system that has struggled to find an answer to what seems like a simple question: When is a migrant a refugee?...The question of whether Central Americans fleeing violence should be considered refugees under the law has been debated since the 1980 Refugee Act was passed. Deborah Anker, a professor at Harvard Law and one of the pre-eminent scholars on asylum law in the United States, says before that time, U.S. law gave asylum only to migrants from the Middle East or communist countries. "We were really trapped in this Cold War framework, whereas the international definition was global and humanitarian in its basic focus," Anker says.

  • U.S. Republicans seek to shut door on Syrian refugees after Paris

    November 16, 2015

    More than a dozen state governors refused on Monday to accept Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks, part of a mounting Republican backlash against the Obama administration's plan to accept thousands more immigrants from the war-torn country. Leading Republican presidential candidates called on President Barack Obama to suspend the plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year and some Republican lawmakers began moves in Congress to try to defund the policy..."The federal government has the power over immigration. If they admit Syrian refugees, they're here," said Deborah Anker, a professor of law at Harvard Law School who specializes in immigration issues. "People aren't going to the (state) border. The federal government is going to bring them in."

  • The myth of the ‘anchor baby’ deportation defense

    August 24, 2015

    ... [A] whole range of people have used the term "anchor baby" this week in public discussions about Trump's immigration-related policy ideas -- ideas that include an end to the nearly 150-year-old practice of granting citizenship to anyone born in the United StatesIt's the former, known as "birthright citizenship," which is delineated in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. And as all sorts of public figures have discussed the future of the 14th Amendment this week, the more colloquial -- many say pejorative -- term "anchor baby" has come up over and over again. But the anchor baby, while potent politically, is a largely mythical idea. ... Alternatively, these parents can apply for something even more rare: an extreme hardship exception, according to Deborah Anker, a clinical professor of law and director of the Harvard University Law School’s immigration and refugee clinical program. Very rarely they can apply for a waiver that may allow them to reenter the United States sooner, Anker said. But if that request is denied, there is no form of appeal available. Decisions are final.

  • Anker, Immigration Clinic Win Human Rights Award

    April 28, 2015

    Clinical Professor of Law Deborah Anker and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) will receive a prestigious human rights award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the leading immigration bar association, in June.

  • Deborah Anker

    Classroom to courtroom: Law School immigration counseling program helps the powerless while educating students

    October 14, 2014

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at HLS, which marked its 30th anniversary this year, trains students to represent refugees seeking asylum in the U.S.

  • Classroom to courtroom

    October 14, 2014

    Harvard Law School students with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) were working with Greater Boston Legal Services on a case involving a Guatemalan man in the summer of 2013 when they collectively had an “aha” moment. The pressure was high, and everybody was working on two sets of legal briefs that were due before the court. “We were having a meeting here, and all of a sudden everybody understood what was on the table, and the writing was very powerful,” said John Willshire Carrera, co-director of the HIRC site at Greater Boston Legal Services. The HIRC program trains students to represent refugees seeking asylum in the United States, as well as other immigrants, said Deborah Anker, the program’s director and a clinical professor of law.

  • In First for Court, Woman Is Ruled Eligible for Asylum in U.S. on Basis of Domestic Abuse

    September 2, 2014

    The nation’s highest immigration court has found for the first time that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries can be eligible for asylum in the United States. The decision on Tuesday by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of a battered wife from Guatemala resolved nearly two decades of hard-fought legal battles over whether such women could be considered victims of persecution…But Deborah Anker, a Harvard law professor who directs the university’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, said the decision would be seized by many women whose cases are already in court, including from other countries where domestic violence is rampant, and by women who crossed the Southwest border recently. Border authorities have been pressing for quick deportations of recent migrants, but now Central American women will have a broader basis to seek a full hearing of their asylum claims.

  • HIRC plays key role in landmark decision recognizing domestic violence as grounds for asylum

    August 27, 2014

    The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a ground-breaking decision yesterday that recognized domestic violence as a basis for asylum. The court’s decision

  • Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program attains major First Circuit victory involving persecution in Guatemala

    July 30, 2014

    In a landmark immigration decision involving a claim of eligibility for asylum, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an opinion finding past persecution in the case of a Mayan man, based on the long history of genocide in Guatemala and related racist mistreatment. The client in the case, Manuel Ordonez-Quino, was represented by Harvard Law School Senior Clinical Instructors John Willshire Carrera and Nancy Kelly, co-managing directors of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services.