[pdf] Rodriguez Tornes v. Garland, 9th Circuit – Domestic Violence Gender Based Asylum Opinion (April 5, 2021) (+)

In this opinion the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled that Rodrigues Tornes is eligible for gender based asylum because her domestic abusers (both her former husband and later another former intimate partner) persecuted her for her feminist opinions and views on her rights as a woman. In this case issued after both “Matter of A-B- I” and “Matter of A-B- II the 9th Circuit federal court of appeals ruled that a woman who was persecuted by domestic abusers because of a feminist political opinion is eligible for asylum in the United States. Importantly to win asylum the applicant Maria Luisa Rodriguez Tornes didn’t have to show that her feminist opinions played the sole or predominant role in her domestic abuse. Instead, she only had to show that her political opinion was “one central reason” in the abuse. In a concurrence Judge Richard Paez criticized the Board of Immigration Appeals for ignoring evidence that Rodriguez was targeted on account of her feminist political opinion. The concurring opinion also found that “the Board also ignored extensive record evidence from a leading authority on domestic violence that directly rejected the Board’s premise that domestic violence is presumed to be motivated by nothing more than the private dynamics of a “personal relationship.”” NIWAP submitted an Amicus Brief in the case, https://niwaplibrary.wcl.american.edu/pubs/rodriguez-tornes-gb-asylum-domestic-violence that was quoted in the concurring opinion by the 9th Circuit. NIWAP was represented by DLA Piper who wrote the amicus brief on NIWAP’s behalf.