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Callous Policy Puts Asylum-Seeking Victims in Danger

July 13, 2018

Under guidance distributed on Wednesday, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented the Attorney General’s suggestions by instructing their staff to automatically reject applications from domestic violence victims seeking asylum. “This instruction could be a death sentence for thousands of women who courageously flee their home countries in an effort to escape horrific abuse,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). “This callous disregard for women’s lives and safety is contrary to the most basic human rights and humanitarian principles.”

This automatic and absolute denial of asylum claims for victims of domestic violence will immediately impact women at the border who are fleeing abuse and will also undercut our current efforts to end domestic violence. “This new treatment of domestic violence as a ‘personal, private’ matter by our government is in stark opposition to 50 years of progress and education – and gravely endangers all women,” said Gandy in reaction to a USCIS spokesperson reportedly explaining that the asylum rejections are because domestic violence is a “personal, private conflict.”

“Automatic rejection of asylum,” continued Gandy, “without any regard to the level of abuse or fear of harm, and without even the opportunity for an initial interview to determine whether there is a ‘credible fear’ of injury or death if they are turned away, is both heartless and cruel.”