The Immigration and Naturalization Service freed Fauziya Kasinga of Togo from jail and scheduled her precedent-setting request for U.S. political asylum on the grounds that she could face female genital mutilation (FGM) in her country to be heard in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest tribunal in the Immigration system, on May 2. Her release from prison is a temporary victory, but the final decision to grant asylum in the U.S. will not be made until May 2. Current grounds for asylum include escaping persecution based on religion, race, political opinion, or membership in a certain social group. Kasinga's lawyers are planning to argue that Kasinga and all other women who resist FGM are members of a endangered social group. Kasinga escaped Togo after learning that she was to marry a man, old enough to be her father, and to be forced to undergo genital mutilation. She served two years in prison in the U.S. while seeking political asylum here. Kasinga who was released from jail to a crowd of faithful supporters said, "There's nothing like freedom." Kasinga plans to go to college and later become an accountant. Kasinga's case drew strong support from several organizations who advocate human rights and women's rights, including the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Take Action: Help Fauziya Kasinga Escape Female Genital Mutilation!
April 24, 1996
Media Resources: The New York Times - April 25, 1996