San Francisco, Los Angeles Leaders Call on Federal Government to Restore Asylum for Domestic Violence Survivors

Friday, November 22, 2019


This week the Boards of Supervisors in San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties took a bold stand in support of immigrant women and others who turn to the United States for refuge. Both Boards unanimously condemned the Trump Administration’s cruel denial of asylum protection for survivors of domestic violence and called on the federal government and the courts to take decisive action to reverse the devastating impacts of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ 2018 Matter of A-B- decision.

Through Matter of A-B-, Sessions attempted to slam the door on women, children, and LGBTQ asylum seekers fleeing life-threatening persecution in their homes and communities, coldly characterizing domestic violence, gang and organized crime violence, and other harms as “private matters.” The resolution passed in San Francisco and the motion passed in Los Angeles this week decry the Matter of A-B- ruling as a blatant assault on the rights of asylum seekers.

The following statements are from:

Lourdes Martinez, Political Director of Mujeres Unidas y Activas
“Immigrant survivors of violence overcome unimaginable challenges in order to come into our communities to seek protection. When they are finally here, their fight for justice is far from over, as they face an immigration system that does not value their lives. At Mujeres Unidas y Activas, we are heartened to see the solidarity expressed by the City of San Francisco and the County of Los Angeles. This is the kind of action every community should be taking to stand behind and uplift immigrant women in their fight for justice.”

The Immigrant Women Leaders of Mujeres Unidas y Activas
“We came looking for protection that our own countries would not give us. Instead, we are rejected and our stories are not believed. Our efforts to defend asylum are giving us an opportunity to speak up about our experiences. We need the help of our local public officials so that our stories and our struggles will be known. We need their help to fight for asylum protection so that many of us may remain in this country and have a future. Because if not this country, then where shall we go?”

Blaine Bookey, Co-Legal Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies and Counsel in Matter of A-B-
“As much as the Trump Administration would like to rewrite longstanding laws it simply doesn’t like, we know that the law recognizes women’s rights as human rights. Immigrant women too deserve safety and dignity. The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies will continue to pursue justice for our client in Matter of A-B- and for all asylum seekers fleeing unimaginable violence. We are grateful that our local leaders are standing with their communities and demanding that our federal government uphold its moral and legal obligations to refugees.”

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, Lead Sponsor of the San Francisco Resolution
“The resolution which was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors affirms San Francisco’s unequivocal support for upholding our nation’s asylum protections and holding the U.S. government accountable to its legal and moral obligations to women and refugees around the world. As a Sanctuary City, we stand firmly with our immigrant communities in condemning the federal government’s repeated attempts to undermine asylum protections for survivors of domestic violence.”

Michelle Carey, Directing Attorney of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
“This week the members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to stand with domestic violence survivors and asylum seekers across Los Angeles and beyond to demand that Matter of A-B- be rescinded. Their support of this motion sent a clear message that domestic violence survivors have the right to safety, protection, and justice, rather than increased violence, discrimination, and fear.”

From Supervisor Hilda L. Solis’ (Lead Sponsor of the Los Angeles County Motion) statement on Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors Seeking Asylum
“Los Angeles County will continue to defend, protect, and fight for its most vulnerable residents by speaking out against this Administration’s cruel, unconstitutional, and hateful immigration enforcement policies. This is a question of moral clarity and human dignity. This Administration does not understand either.”