Ashcroft Opts Out of Aiding Guatemalan Asylum Seeker
US Attorney General John Ashcroft will neither grant nor deny asylum to a Guatemalan woman who fled her country after ten years of abuse at the hands of her husband, including being raped, whipped with electrical cords, and threatened with death. Rodi Alvarado Pena, whose case was taken by Ashcroft two years ago, will have to wait again because Ashcroft is leaving office without making a decision on her fate, reports the Associated Press.
According to the Associated Press, women’s rights and immigration rights advocates hoped that Alvarado’s case would have led to a change in current US policy regarding asylum cases filed by victims of domestic violence. Ashcroft had blocked a proposal by former Attorney General Janet Reno that would have allowed given victims of domestic violence grounds to seek asylum, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Advocates are continuing to urge the department of Homeland Security to issue guidelines that will regard gender-based persecution as a legitimate basis for asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security has recommended that Alvarado be granted asylum, reports the Associated Press, and Department spokesperson Bill Strassberger said that if Alvarado is denied asylum, the Department “will not pursue her removal from the United States.” However, without asylum status, Alvarado cannot be reunited with her children, who are still in Guatemala.
“As the President begins his second term, we urge him to put meaning behind his words of compassion for women facing violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, by quickly granting asylum to Rodi Alvarado and other women who are seeking to escape gender-based violence,” said Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defundÂ Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).Â Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell asÂ out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of twoÂ heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .