Update on Dolores 5/10/18

May 8, 2018 Court for Dolores Bustamante Synopsis by Lory Ghertner
A judge has denied Dolores’s asylum case today [05/08/18] based on the simple fact that an asylum case must be presented within 365 days of entry into the US. In brief, her asylum case was based on two factors:
  1. Domestic violence with the claim that her protected “ social group” was defined as Mexican women who cannot escape violence of a husband. (https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum ) Because she was only in a civil union, the judge did not recognize her case under that theory.
  2. Gang violence and/or the refusal to join a gang. Her claim was based on the murder of her son with two friends after being kidnapped and tortured. Neither Dolores nor Miriam could name a gang, which murdered three people. Because there was no “proof” or clear evidence of gang involvement that theory was also dropped.

Dolores was on the stand being questioned by her lawyer for over two hours, followed by ~5 minutes of cross examination by the government’s attorney, who used the above arguments to ruin Dolores’ claim of asylum. Then her daughter, Miriam, quite bravely, was on the stand for 15 minutes with no cross examination. This was followed by a similar experience with her Pastor, Milton Irizzary. In his ruling, the judge actually blamed Dolores for not leaving an abusive relationship and essentially for her son’s death. He also referred to a 2017 study from the Department of State, showing that Mexico now has laws preventing domestic violence and has convicted 11 (eleven) people over the past year. Her attorney will be filling an appeal by June 7 to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a three judge panel that will determine whether the judge today gave a proper judgment. This will take approximately one year and will most likely also fail But this will be followed by another appeal to the federal courts, which will take over another year to resolve. The bottom line: based on the law, it appears that her case was properly adjudicated despite the ridiculous arguments presented by the judge. She has at least another 2 years before being ordered removed from this country. Thank you to all those who stood with Dolores and Miriam today and to all of you who have expressed concern, prayed for her, and generally wished her well through this trying, frightening, and frustrating experience. Tonight they both seem relieved that this part of the ordeal is over.

Lory Ghertner

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