Why We Are Monsters If We Don’t Give Them Asylum

A gut-wrenching report in the Wall Street Journal today details the horrific violence, including torture and murder, suffered by women at the hands of men in Central America, particularly in the countries from which come the migrants trying to get asylum in the United States. That we have an administration that wants to punish these legitimate refugees facing death in their home lands is simply monstrous. You cannot call yourself the “richest” or “greatest” anything if you can turn away people fleeing from rape and murder.

In El Salvador, for instance, the death rate for women “is more than six times that of the U.S., with Honduras and Guatemala close behind.” And while the murder rate is even higher for men who are involved in gang wars involving, yes, MS-13 (which is far, far, far more dangerous in other countries than here), women, especially young women and adolescent girls, are victimized by domestic partners and husbands (sadly, an enormous issue in the United States) and by male gang members, which essentially treat them as property.

This is going to get dark as hell.

“‘When you have a woman, she becomes property for you, and only for you, no one else,’ said Wilfredo Cabrera, who is 24 and recently left a gang. The safe houses the gangs use to store weaponry, cash, and contraband are also used to imprison girls, some as young as 12 and 13. Gang rape is not uncommon.” One woman was kept in the basement of a safe house and regularly raped.

Women who refuse the advances of a gang member have their entire families threatened with death. And it gets worse: “Whereas men are often shot to death, women are killed with particular viciousness, according to a 2015 Salvadoran government study on femicides that noted how some victims had been tortured, had fingers cut off, been raped, tied up or burned.”

One case detailed in the article by Juan Forero is that of Andrea Guzman, a 17 year-old in El Salvador who rebuffed the advances of a gang leader. He ended up sending seven gang members to tie up her family and kidnap Andrea. She was then shot in the head. Her family has a photo of her corpse, lying in a field, on a phone. It’s at the top of the article. It’s heartbreaking.

Andrea’s father said, “It is better not to have a daughter here…I should have left the country with my children.”

And who could deny that that would have been a wise choice? What parent wouldn’t think that for the safety of their kids? Who would not have made a journey on foot, if necessary, to save the life of their daughter? Would you listen if you were told you needed to stay in your country in hopes things will get better there? Yes, there has been some progress in getting the justice system to arrest and convict the killers in their countries, but it is slow, and, certainly, it would be a long time before reforms reached the small farming village where Andrea Guzman lived.

Today, in the U.S., Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down the Trump administration’s savage, hateful policy of limiting asylum claims, including those for women and families trying to escape domestic or gang violence. It guts disgraced gnome Jeff Sessions’ policy that “generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum.” Those families, those women do not have a “credible fear” of violence that would allow them to try to escape to the United States. How terrible a human being do you have to be to believe that? Sadly, we have a government filled with those terrible humans.

Sullivan, who was also busy this week kicking Michael Flynn’s ass, wrote that Sessions (and, by extension, Trump) “unlawfully and arbitrarily imposed a heightened standard to their credible fear determinations” and that the policies “are arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the immigration laws.”

“Plaintiffs credibly alleged at their credible fear determinations that they feared rape, pervasive domestic violence, beatings, shootings, and death in their countries of origin,” Sullivan wrote. One of the plaintiffs in the case that challenged the policy had seen her brother killed and her son maimed by a “politically-connected family” who also threatened to kill her.  If that’s not a credible enough fear for you to at least have a hearing, you’re the monster.

And, because we are led by the worst people, of course, Sullivan’s decision will be appealed.

Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on December 19, 2018, on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa.  It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.

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