These types of crimes can fall under the definition of “torture” under U.S. immigration law and you may be eligible for a unique form of protection from having to return to your home country. Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), an Immigration Judge can issue a deportation order against you but cannot have you returned to your home country if it is more likely than not that you will be tortured with the acquiescence (consent or knowledge of) or directly by a government official (such as a police officer, prosecutor, etc.). If granted, CAT allows you to stay in the U.S. legally but does not grant you permanent residency.
CAT relief is about saving your life. Even if an asylum claim is denied, you may still be eligible for CAT to avoid having to go back to your country. CAT can be an option for someone who had a viable asylum claim but could not prove that the persecution they would face was on account of race, religion, a particular social group, or political opinion. CAT doesn’t require you provide the motive or reason for the persecution, just that you will be persecuted and that persecution will be severe enough to be considered “torture.”
Torture is defined by the Board of Immigration Appeals, the body that reviews Immigration Judges’ decisions on CAT relief, as an act causing severe physical or mental pain or suffering that must be “an extreme form of cruel and inhuman treatment. Whether a specific act that you fear would happen to you rises to the level of torture for CAT relief depends on case law; torture acts are not defined in the statute. Of the cases granted to date, Immigration Judges and the BIA have found these acts to be torture with the right set of facts: rape, severe beatings over a sustained period of time, being forced to watch a sexual assault, threats that one’s own family will be raped, forced sterilization, murder, cutting, and female genital mutilation.
This is an ever-evolving area of case law. Your chances of success will depend on the Judge in your case, the facts and what you can prove with evidence, the law at the time in your area, and the skills of your lawyer. At SGG, our team of removal and asylum attorneys regularly work with torture victims and those fearing being tortured upon return to their home country. We filed appeals of denied CAT, asylum, and withholding of removal cases that we take on when a client comes to us after their case has been denied when using a nonprofit or another lawyer. We also help clients prepare the best case possible from the start to avoid the chance of having to appeal or fight a denial in court. Our attorneys have over 50 years of experience in asylum and CAT cases, having fought cases in the Circuit court level down to CIS agency level. One of our Senior Attorney is a former USCIS Supervising Asylum officer. Get the right team on your side today.