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.
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .