From TERRY FRIEDEN
CNN Justice Producer
Don’t deport genital mutilation victim.
The U.S. attorney general is trying to prevent immigration authorities from sending a Muslim woman to her home country, where she was a victim of female genital mutilation. Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered an immigration court to reconsider an African woman’s case.
In a stinging order overriding federal immigration courts, Mukasey blasted a decision that said a 28-year-old citizen and native of Mali should be expelled “because her genitalia already had been mutilated [so] she had no basis to fear future persecution if returned to her home country.”
*In the actual papers filed: “Nevertheless, nothing that the respondent had been subjected to the practice as a young girl and did ‘not even recall’ the experience, the Immigration Judge found that the respondent had neither proved past persecution nor satisfied the burden of establishing the legal grounds for the relief she sought.“*
Subjected to? Practice? Aka torture and mutilation. Satisfied the burden? No basis fear future persecution? Who stopped the first one? And when they find out she sought asylum and brought the issue to light? And if it were a case of an amputated or partially amputated penis? Would they send him back because there would be no reason for further persecution?
The woman, a native of Mali, begged the court not to send her back to her Bambara tribe. The 28-year-old said if she returned and had a daughter, the child also would be subject to mutilation. The woman also said she faced forced marriage if she had to go home.
*In the actual papers filed, she stated that “if she were to return to Mali, she would be forced to marry her first cousin, and that she feared her ‘father would hurt her mother’ if she resisted ‘her father’s and her tribe’s wishes’ in respect to both ‘the arranged marriage’ and female genital mutilation.”*
Do they engage in male genital mutilation anywhere?
Female genital mutilation is not necessarily a one-time event,” Mukasey said. He noted that the board in a previous case had granted asylum in to one woman whose “vaginal opening was sewn shut approximately five times after being opened to allow for sexual intercourse and child birth.”
So is that the threshold? Did she qualify because it happened “approximately” five times? And what examinations do these mutilated women have to undergo? Who performs them? Men or women? And who oversees that the women are not victimized once again?
The mutilators don’t use anesthesia and rarely mutilate under sterile conditions to prevent infection. They hold the girls down and start cutting – the mother and females relatives restraining them. The clitoris has approximately 10,000 nerve endings as compared to the penis, which has approx 3000. The urethra (where the urine exits) is in close proximity to the clitoris and often gets damaged, resulting in life-long urinary difficulties and recurrent infections. The inner walls of the vagina can become scarred, causing any type of sexual activity to be extremely painful – or even walking or contact by clothing. Childbirth can be potentially lethal to both the mother and fetus because of birth canal scarring. The cervix, uterus and the rectum can all be damaged. These mutilations are not done by trained surgeons – they are most often done by the elders.What happens to the men who did it and the mother who stood by and allowed it?
He also concluded that the Board of Immigration Appeals was wrong to assume that the woman “must fear persecution in exactly the same form [namely, repeat female genital mutilation] to qualify for relief.”
The woman to qualify for “relief” must “fear prosecutions in exactly the same form”? What woman wouldn’t? And what caused the need for “relief” in the first place? As is it won’t happen again? Who’s going to stop it? Nobody did the first time.
Mukasey had been urged to look into the matter by angered members of Congress in the wake of the January decision.
“This recent action taken by the Board of Immigration Appeals is a step backward for the rights of women worldwide,” declared Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, in a January letter.
“Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of a woman’s human rights and has traditionally been grounds for the granting of an asylum claim,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, said in the letter.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, issued a statement applauding Mukasey’s action, and declaring female genital mutilation a “barbaric practice widely regarded as a human rights abuse.”
Leahy sound familiar? Barbaric practice? Widely regarded? Human rights abuse? It’s far beyond human rights abuse and it should be regarded as so by everyone.
The Justice Department acknowledged it is extraordinarily rare for an attorney general to jump into a relatively low-level immigration case.
Relatively “low-level” immigration case? Would they say that if their son’s penis was amputated? What does it take for a baseball player from Cuba to get asylum?
The immigration courts decide about 40,000 cases a year, and an attorney general has issued an opinion on a case only three times in the past three years.
Female genital mutilation is common in parts of Africa, Asia and Arab countries, according to the United Nations. The operation is viewed by some ethnic groups as a means to control a woman’s sexuality and is sometimes a prerequisite for marriage or the right to inherit.
The procedure can cause tissue injury, severe infection and fever, among other complications. The U.N. has recorded cases in which hemorrhaging and infection lead to death.
And how many more doesn’t the UN know about? How many more mutilations have taken place since the UN recorded those cases? And did the UN count the death of their souls?
Attorney General, Michael Mukasey can be reached at AskDOJ@usdoj.gov. He should be applauded for his efforts. I don’t, as yet, know who the “Immigration Judge” was. Maybe Nancy Grace will.
First Lady Hillary’s Rodham Clinton’s Speech: “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”
Bejing, China 1995 (text & video audio)
Named #35 of Top 100 Speeches of the 21st Century
She gave the 35th best speech in the 21st century while she was having “tea with ambassadors” while the best orator in the planet has nothing.
While the Arab World Sits Silent
Child marriages go unabated in Arab World