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.
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.”
Calling the rationale “flawed,” Mukasey sent the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals with orders to reconsider.
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.
Several members of Congress — Reps. John Conyers, Zoe Lofgren and Sen. Patrick Leahy — had asked Mukasey to look into the matter after the court’s decision last January.
“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.
This is always an easy call for government officials, who find the idea of genital mutilation stomach-turning, as any normal person would. The trouble is that the practice is widespread in certain countries of Africa and the Middle East. Any woman who makes it to America from such a country is therefore likely to get asylum. As with every refugee and asylum question, are we prepared to take all the women who want to come to America from these countries? NGOs and the UN are working in Africa to end the practice, with reported success. (Funny, I don’t hear about them working in the Arab countries of the Middle East. Maybe they wouldn’t get such an easy reception there.) If the members of Congress are really concerned about female genital mutilation, they should be supporting these efforts.
Hat tip to Bluelite Special.