Women, Foreign and Domestic, In Imminent Danger

     The 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals [western states] not too long ago ordered immigration judges to look anew at every asylum request from a class of potential immingants as to whether claims for immediate asylum have merit. The class of applicant is women.


     This breaks new ground.


     All  prospective immigrant women from Central America -- and the geography may well expand -- may now be considered likely eligible for protection by the United States because of overwhelming evidence that regardless of a woman's politics (and often without regard for her social class), her life is in imminent danger because she's a woman.


     Reasons for the order include consistent and increasing evidence of widespread domestic violence and abuse and the very high and increasing rates of indiscriminate violence against women, including rising murder and attempted murder rates. U.S. Immigration Courts already look hard at claims by young women who fear ritual genital cutting but this judicial order goes further.


     Of course, many might argue that we're not here to protect women from foreign misogyny.  Yet people who do argue that align themselves historically with the kinds of Americans who, in former generations, would have denied asylum to most of our own grand- and great grandparents, many of whom suffered pogroms and other consistently foul and often near-lethal treatment in Western or Central or Southern Europe, Northern, Western, Southern, or South East Asia, South or Central America, and the Near East, or Africa.


     Our judiciary should, in all eleven federal circuits, and our coming, well overdue legislative immigration reform, ought to welcome women whose lives are at risk regardless of the numbers of Americans we know won't.

     We should note this, as well:  our own freakish 112th Congress quite deliberately just allowed the 1994 Violence Against Women Act to expire. The VAWA helped protect American women, our own citizens, from domestic violence. Why did the House let the legislation die? It did so largely because VAWA would now also support community groups working to stem violence in lesbian relationships as well as in straight ones. No matter that domestic violence incidents did, in fact, decrease after the law was enacted. Funding organizations in the proposed, renewed law, groups whose work includes efforts to blunt domestic violence in lesbians' households as well as in straight ones proved, for this sordid right-wing House, one step too far toward dignity, equality, and justice.





Views: 92

Comment by onislandtime on January 6, 2013 at 10:17am

This is intriguing. Thanks for the information, as I did not know about this.

I have mixed thoughts about the VAWA. Anything that helps, yet I would prefer that all acts of violence be treated the same under the law and that all acts of violence be prosecuted regardless of the relationship of the parties.  The U.S. is an abject failure when it comes to addressing domestic violence. We still overwhelming treat domestic violence (almost always with women as victims) as a private issue between couples . It is more of a mental health issue than criminal, which I disagree with strongly. Elder abuse is similar, although there is more outrage when it is actually addressed, which is not often. 

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 6, 2013 at 10:27am

OnIsland  WAWA does not create a new category of 'hate-crimes'. Not at all. I, myself, for many reasons, do not think hate crimes laws are helpful. VAWA funds community organizations that work to lessen domestic violence.

Comment by BUD CLAYMAN on January 6, 2013 at 5:48pm

Thanks for this. I learn something everyday with your columns.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 6, 2013 at 6:01pm

Thanks, Bud!

Comment by Melissa Houle on January 7, 2013 at 12:47am

Unfortunately, being an American woman is no guarantee against being the victim of a violent crime. (See the Steuben ville Ohio rape case)  http://www.thelantern.com/campus/ohio-state-responds-to-steubenvill... And damn the Tea Party to the lowest circle of hell for allowing VAWA to lapse. However, for a woman fleeing a country and a culture that finds it acceptable to force 12 year old girls to marry ANYBODY, or for a rape victim to be counseled to marry one of her rapists to salvage HER honor(!); accepts genital mutilation as part of their cultural tradition and considers throwing acid in a woman's face justifiable, then yes, she's STILL better off seeking asylum here.  I don't know whether to be more outraged by the Delhi rape case, or heartened because thousands of  people there are protesting it in anger.  I feel for the girl in the Steubenville case, too; I'm sure she's going to have some terrible memories to live with. And those jerks were talking and laughing about it and taking pictures.  Not one of them intervened, protested, or did anything to help her. Parents of Steubenville, what kind of values DID you instill in your sons?

Comment by koshersalaami on January 7, 2013 at 5:34am

As policy, this makes sense, if for no other reason than to embarrass the countries from which these women come.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 7, 2013 at 6:31am

Melissa   I think we can be both outraged and hopeful by the case from India.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 7, 2013 at 6:31am

Kosh   I wholly agree.


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