TAKE ACTION: Human Rights Violation of Immigrant Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Guest post by Tess Joseph

In 2014, the United States Board of Immigration made a landmark decision: fleeing violence perpetrated in the “private sphere”—e.g., domestic and sexual violence—was rightfully recognized as grounds for asylum. Yet, on June 11, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his intentions to reverse this decision in the Matter of A-B. If actualized, Sessions’ decision will block thousands of people from obtaining refuge in the United States and will deport thousands of survivors, forcing them to return to the very horrific situations they so bravely escaped.

The Matter of A-B- decision is evil. It is a flagrant violation of human rights that condemns those who have endured trauma and violence to continued torture at the hands of their abusers, often leading to their deaths. Matter of A-B- is not an anomaly; it is the most recent iteration of Sessions’ inhumane immigration policies, including the “zero tolerance” policy, that the Woodhull Freedom Foundation declared to be a de facto family separation policy. In the case of Marco Antonio Muñoz’s suicide, the “zero tolerance” policy, too, has proved to be a death sentence. The evil and extreme cruelty of Sessions’ xenophobic and racist immigration policies has a body count.

The Woodhull Freedom Foundation firmly believes that safety is a fundamental human right, and the United States federal government must uphold this right. Everyone, regardless of immigration status, deserves to live a life free of violence in all of its forms. We join the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence in calling on our nation’s policymakers to continue their commitment to all survivors, including through the protections of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Congress should reject Sessions’ decision, and instead, work to preserve our asylum laws that empower immigrant survivors of domestic and sexual violence to seek life-saving asylum in the United States.


  1. Find your Member of Congress here and ask them to protect and defend domestic violence survivors and reject the Attorney General’s decision in Matter of A-B-.
  2. Sign Tahirih Justice Center’s online petition demanding that Jeff Sessions reverse his decision in Matter of A-B-.