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Misogyny and Racism in Sessions’ Unraveling of Asylum Law

In June of 2018, after tortuous weeks of hinting, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed Matter of A-R-C-G, a 2014 case recognizing some types of domestic violence claims as a valid basis for asylum in the U.S. Utilizing a rarely employed mechanism, the AG certified a case, Matter of A-B-, to himself in order to instruct Immigration Judges under his authority to cease  considering domestic violence claims legally sufficient for asylum. The case, technically a Memo from the Attorney General to Immigration Judges, appears at first blush to merely reverse A-R-C-G-, but Sessions went much further. The decision is racist, misogynistic, and dehumanizing. It bears all the ugly hallmarks of the world’s rising nativist leaders.

Learning from German Gender and Immigration Policy Missteps

In his 2018 State of the Union Address, President Trump announced major changes to U.S. immigration and refugee policy. Key among his proposals is tightening family reunification policies, which will directly influence gender inequity. Not only does our own history provide trenchant examples, but other countries’ policies and their implications can inform such changes. On this score, Germany, though its refugee policy is far more generous, is particularly helpful in considering the gender implications of immigration reform­­­­- a “what not to do,” as it were.

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Policy in Flux and Latina Lives on the Line

As the nation swings from one polarizing policy debate to another – from health care to taxes to immigration – the connections among these issues can get lost in the rhetoric. The common impacts of those three particular issues are, however, nowhere more visible than in Latina health care access and outcomes. We’re talking about millions of Americans: children, the elderly, low and middle income, citizen and noncitizen alike. Latinas, a sizeable demographic within each of these populations, are especially vulnerable because of the ways in which ethnicity, gender, income, documentation status, and age intersect. Latinas’ lives and livelihoods are on the line.

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Why Some Immigrant Women Fear Saying #MeToo

The #MeToo movement has been crucial in raising the profile of sexual harassment and violence through the voices of women from Hollywood to Congress, yet we have heard less about the experiences of women from other socioeconomic sectors – poor women, women of color, immigrant women. The U.S. does have limited policies in place to protect some immigrant victims of sexual violence, but those systems need to be more accessible ­and to be made consistent across jurisdictions.

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Black Women, Migration, and the Delay of Fair Housing

On January 5th, 2018, Secretary Ben Carson and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a delay of an Obama-era fair housing rule, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) measure, until 2020. Instituted in 2015, the rule was meant to extend pieces of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) of 1968 that were never actualized—measures that call for communities to review and account for racially discriminatory housing policies or face sanctions such as the loss of community block grants and fair housing aid. Secretary Carson has called the AFFH “failed socialism” and “social engineering,” while U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) characterized its delay as an attack on “minorities, women, families with children, and persons with disabilities.”

The Gendered Consequences of Immigration Enforcement

In his State of the Union Address, President Trump continued to insist on building a $25 billion wall along the Mexico-U.S. border—a farcical waste of taxpayer money. Undocumented migration from Mexico to the U.S. essentially ended ten years ago; the total number of Mexican immigrants has stabilized at around 11.7 million persons, as the number of undocumented Mexican migrants declines. This is to say, since 2008, the net number of Mexicans (in any legal status) entering the U.S. has been zero or negative.The push for a border wall doubles-down on past failed policies and the particularly vulnerable population of women and children they created, yet no border wall can affect a migratory flow that has already gone negative.