Attorney General Michael Mukasey, after getting pressure from Congress, has reversed a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals that would have sent an unnamed 28-year-old asylum-seeker back to to her home country of Mali. The woman was seeking asylum based on the fact that her tribe, the Bambara, would force her into marriage and any daughter she might have in the future would be subjected to female genital mutilation. (In January, the Board ruled that since the asylum-seeker had been mutilated herself, she no longer had any reason for fear persecution and had to go home. Yeah, no, really... they said that. Land of the free and home of the brave, people!)Mukasey's order sends the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which, one hopes, will not act like complete assholes the second time around. Mukasey pointed out that female genital mutilation can, indeed, be inflicted more than once — making the ruling factually wrong — and that further persecution need not take the same form as the initial persecution to qualify the woman for asylum. So, the Bush Administration finally did something right... only, actually, it's all their fault in the first place. Because, lest you forget, the immigration court judges are some of the many people Alberto Gonzales's minions — Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson — helped get onto the bench based on a thorough vetting of their loyalty to George W. Bush and a not so thorough vetting of their immigration law background. In fact, many of them had no immigration law qualifications whatsoever when they began to serve as immigration judges. Some had previously attempted to get non-immigration judgeships and failed, due to a lack of qualifications in the field of law they'd actually practiced, but Gonzales, Goodling and Sampson ran the immigration court appointment process with little attention to pesky details like that. In fact, when they were running the immigration courts as a loyalty-reward outlet center, only 4 seats on the immigration courts were open to a competitive application process. Studies have shown that those who were hired while the Three Musketeers were at the helm (most of whom remain on the bench) are significantly more likely to reject asylum applications than judges hired under competitive application processes that actually have an immigration law background. So, really, Mukasey wasn't doing anything more than he was hired to do — which is clean up the shit at the Justice Department that Alberto Gonzles, left behind. So, hooray for doing the right thing, eventually and under pressure from Congress! At least this asylum seeker will get to stay. The other ones the Bushies have been busy deporting, well, good luck to them. AG: Don't Deport Genital Mutilation Victim [CNN] Genital Mutilation Victim Gets A New Chance At Asylum In U.S. [LA Times] Immigration Judges Lack Apt Backgrounds [LA Times] Immigration Judges Often Picked Based On GOP Ties [Washington Post] Vetted Judges More Likely to Reject Asylum Bids [NY Times]
My hubby is an immigration attorney, focusing on family-based immigration. He is daily irritated and frustrated by governmental antics, so he will be relieved to hear about this. He's one of the good guys, yo.
There are so many backward and ridiculous things in the immigration code, it would nauseate you to read it. Well, and it's admittedly boring as hell, so there you have it.
His latest challenge is Oregon's new driver license laws that require proof of residency or citizenship. People who are CITIZENS can't get their licenses renewed because they've changed their name eons ago (marriage, divorce, etc) and IT NO LONGER MATCHES THEIR BIRTH CERTIFICATE. Citizens. True story. Dumb story.