The Steering Committee of the National Taskforce to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF), comprised of national leadership organizations advocating on behalf of sexual and domestic violence victims and women’s rights, represents hundreds of programs, service providers and community organizations across the country dedicated to making sure that all survivors of violence receive the protections and services they need and deserve. We are alarmed by the significant adverse impact of the June 11, 2018 Attorney General’s deeply disappointing decision in Matter of A-B-.
The A.G.’s decision strikes at the heart of longstanding protections for domestic violence survivors and others who look to the United States for protection and refuge, taking us back to an era when domestic violence was considered a “private” matter; not meriting government intervention. This decision undermines decades of progress toward human rights policies that recognize the unique vulnerabilities of women and children who have experienced the trauma of violence and need secure immigration status to access safety. By declaring that the lack of state intervention in domestic violence in other countries cannot be the sole basis for asylum in the U.S., the Attorney General is instituting a policy that will block thousands of people from obtaining refuge in the United States, condemning thousands of domestic violence victims to deportation to dangerous situations where they could very well lose their lives.
Already, this Administration’s policies have served to send the message to immigrant survivors of domestic violence that they are undeserving of safety and justice, making them more vulnerable to threats from abusers and more fearful that they will be separated from their children and communities. In this climate, the NTF calls on our nation’s policymakers to work together to uphold their commitment to all survivors – including through the protections of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) – and to forge a bipartisan, humane national immigration policy.
Congress should reject the Attorney General’s decision in Matter of A-B-., and work in a bipartisan manner to exercise greater oversight of the Administration’s immigration policies that harm domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. As part of these efforts, Congress must preserve and defend provisions in our asylum laws that enable immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to seek life-saving refuge and protection when their countries’ officials fail to protect them from targeted violence. In addition, Congress must continue to work in a bipartisan manner to seek a more just and humane immigration system that protects survivors and strengthens families, communities, and the nation.
For more information, please contact Archi Pyati, Tahirih Justice Center, at email@example.com, Grace Huang, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rosie Hidalgo, National Latin@ Network: Casa de Esperanza, at email@example.com.
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