Publications ArchivePublication Category: Statements
What We Believe
Read the statement of principles from the Movement for Gender Asylum Justice.
Tahirih’s Press Statement on VAWA Reauthorization
Last night, the Senate reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a vote that was six years in the making. The Tahirih Justice Center applauds Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) for their legislative leadership in the fight to get VAWA over the finish line. The new authorization provides more than $500 million to increase resources for survivors of violence.
Thanks to the advocacy of Tahirih and members of the Forced Marriage Working Group, forced marriage has been defined and recognized as a form of violence against women in the United States.
Unfortunately, while this authorization maintains preexisting protection for immigrant survivors, we are disappointed that Congress ignored our ask of increasing or eliminating the annual cap for U visas. The low annual cap of 10,000 U visas essentially burdens the backlog and fails to adapt to the needs of survivors of violence.
Maryland’s Senate Bill to End Child Marriage Will Not Protect Minors
This year, yet again, Maryland senators have weakened a bill that seeks to end child marriage. Presented with a strong bill rooted in years of bi-partisan compromise, the amended version the Senate passed on Monday does almost nothing to protect children from abuse and exploitation under the guise of marriage. It maintains some of the most dangerous exceptions, including pregnancy and parental consent, and keeps Maryland in a position of being a regional destination for child marriage.
This amended bill has no resemblance to the initial bill the Tahirih Justice Center helped draft. While states like Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, and Virginia have all passed similar reforms which have been working effectively. Meanwhile, other states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, New York and Minnesota have passed bright line 18 bills. It is frustrating that the Maryland Senate can’t seem to accept that it is just good public policy to do all we can to protect children from the harms of child marriage.
Nonetheless, we are hopeful the House will pass the bill out as written, as they have every year since we began this campaign in 2016. When it crosses over, we hope the Senate takes the opportunity to finally prioritize the protection of children and bring Maryland out of the dark ages when it comes to child marriage.
For further comments on this topic, please email [email protected]
Tahirih Denounces New Opinion on Matter of A-R-C-G-
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a new opinion that will prevent many immigrant survivors of horrific abuse from receiving protection in the United States. In a case called Matter of A-R-C-G, the Board of Immigration Appeals held that survivors of domestic violence could receive asylum as members of a particular social group protected by U.S. law. In 2018, Matter of A-R-C-G was pushed aside by a decision of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming that domestic violence survivors are generally not entitled to asylum. Earlier this year, Matter of A-R-C-G- was reinstated by the Biden administration but the Fifth Circuit has now overruled that decision.
Tahirih Launches Helpline for Afghan Evacuees
The Tahirih Justice Center launched its Afghan Asylum Project to support Afghan citizens who recently arrived in the United States. Beginning September 13, Afghan citizens seeking assistance can call a dedicated, toll-free line (888-991-0852) and be connected with resources and local organizations that are providing on-the-ground support. In addition, trauma-informed Tahirih staff will be conducting legal screenings remotely with anyone presenting gender-based asylum claims for potential legal representation by Tahirih staff and Tahirih’s pro bono network.
NEW REPORT REVEALS NEED FOR NAMING ‘GENDER’ AS SIXTH GROUND FOR ASYLUM
A new report by the Tahirih Justice Center highlights the urgent need for ‘gender’ to be recognized as the sixth protected ground for asylum. In Ensuring Equal and Enduring Access to Asylum: Why ‘Gender’ Must be a Protected Ground, Tahirih asserts that current U.S. asylum laws, as applied, fail to adequately and consistently protect survivors fleeing gender-based violence, leaving them vulnerable to further abuse and trauma. The inclusion of gender as a sixth ground is one of several critical steps needed to transform our immigration system into one that fully understands and meets the needs of survivors.
Tahirih Celebrates Vacated Matter of A-B- Decision
On June 16, 2021, the Department of Justice vacated Matter of A-B-, a decision that cruelly denied access to asylum for thousands of survivors of domestic violence and dramatically limited their access to safety. This decision reopens a pathway for survivors fleeing unimaginable brutality to seek safe haven as permitted under U.S. law.