Bush Cabinet member exhibits real human decency on behalf of female asylum-seeker; possibly sets important precedent for women:
[Attorney General Michael Mukasey] is trying to prevent immigration authorities from sending a Muslim woman to her home country, where she was a victim of female genital mutilation.Mukasey's letter (pdf), which also addresses the 28-year-old Malian woman's concern about being subjected to a forced marriage, is an extraordinarily rare move by an attorney general, but Mukasey was moved to intervene in the low-level immigration case after Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) sent him an angry letter decrying the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision.
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.
Mukasey has ordered reconsideration of the case based on "what he concluded were two significant factual errors in the court's rejection of her appeal."
"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."I quite honestly don't know if I'm more shocked (and angry) that the BIA had to have that shit spelled out for the them, or more shocked (and pleased) that Mukasey actually did 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."
In any case, fingers crossed that the BIA will make the right decision this time around. That would be some very good news indeed.
[H/T to Shaker Broce.]