Domestic violence victims can qualify for asylum in U.S.

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - For the first time a government immigration board has determined domestic violence victims may be able to qualify for asylum in the United States.

The decision was issued Tuesday following the appeal of a Guatemalan woman who was seeking asylum after escaping her abusive husband in 2005.

By approving her request, experts say the government now recognizes domestic violence victims as a potentially protected class of people seeking refuge in the United States.

It's not clear how it will now impact thousands of current and future requests.

Currently the asylum law recognizes those who may be persecuted in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

They also have to prove their government is either involved in the persecution or will not stop it.