Karen Musalo, Alvarado, Law Institute discussed on All Things Considered


Is well now this yon thin three lovey they lamar it was a matter of life and death she says if i stayed he would have killed me alvarado applied for asylum in us immigration court back then her lawyer karen musalo had just founded the center for gender and refugee studies in san francisco sallow argued that women like alvarado deserve asylum because they've been persecuted by their husbands and ignored by their own governments when you have someone who wakes you up in the middle of the night with a knife at your throat and tells you that he can kill you and nobody would care and then when you go to the police repeatedly and they laugh at you this is clearly a situation deserving of protection at first some courts rejected this theory in alvarado's case immigration judges agreed that her story was brutal but they ruled that the system of asylum was not intended to protect survivors of domestic violence it's a grave pervasive chronic international problem but this is the wrong tool to solve that problem michael hetman is a lawyer at the immigration reform law institute he was on the opposing side writing briefs against the stand karen musalo was taking asylum is not some sort of global make a wish foundation but alvarado and sallow didn't give up you sallow kept pointing to that phrase particular social group and insisted that domestic violence survivors do fall into that category eventually her argument one out and immigration lawyers have successfully argued for an even broader interpretation of asylum law to include women fleeing genital mutilation for instance and people facing persecution for being gay for a while the seem settled that is until jeff sessions became the attorney general vague insubstantial and subjective claims have swamped our system this is sessions speaking to immigration judges last year the attorney general favors a strict interpretation of the language crafted back in geneva in nineteen fifty one sessions emphasizes that asylum laws protect people based on certain characteristics race religion nationality or political opinion that's what it's for they were never intended to provide asylum to all those who fear generalized violence crime personal vendettas or lack of job prospects sessions is moving to limit who can get asylum and he's questioning whether domestic violence.

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