On Attorney General Mukasey’s Decision To Reverse Board Of Immigration Appeals Decision In FGM Case

Attorney General Michael Mukasey today vacated and remanded a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals’ that ruled that while the threat of female genital mutilation (FGM) is grounds for asylum, those who have already fallen victim to FGM cannot demonstrate a fear of future persecution.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long decried the practice, and the subject has been a topic of hearings before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, a new subcommittee established by Leahy in this Congress.  In June, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a separate ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals that denied asylum to three women from Guinea, who had applied for asylum in the United States after becoming victims of FGM.  Leahy’s comment on the Attorney General’s reversal of the Board of Immigration Appeals decision in the Matter of A-Tfollows.


“I am glad Attorney General Mukasey heeded the advice I offered him during the Judiciary Committee’s Department of Justice oversight hearing in July, and has used his authority to reverse and remand the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision in the Matter of A-T.  Female genital mutilation is a barbaric practice that is widely regarded as a human rights abuse.  I hope the Board of Immigration Appeals will carefully reconsider its prior decision in this case and reject its own prior reasoning.  That reasoning ignored the long-lasting implications this practice can have on those who suffer it and who face life in a society that condones it.  I believe all Americans can understand why someone victimized by this practice would fear returning to a society where it was allowed to happen.  It is not enough to say that this practice is cruel; our policies must reflect these principles as well.” 


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