Legal Challenges and Violence Facing Asylum-Seeking Women at the United States Border
Asylum in the United States can be a matter of life or death for women fleeing their home countries where they face high rates of femicide and fear for their lives. Women trying to escape gender-based violence are often unable to safely seek asylum in America and face additional violence when they arrive at the border. Female immigrants can face abuse and harassment by United States agents who are policing the border and are not being held accountable for their actions. There are also legal challenges that face asylum-seeking women, who must be eligible under the Immigration and Nationality Act to receive protection. This Act is the main legal path for female immigrants coming to the United States to quickly escape persecution and gender-based/motivated violence. Many of the asylum-seeking women are fleeing countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, collectively known as the Northern Triangle.
Reform is needed to help protect the women who are forced to leave their homes just for the hope of staying alive. It is essential for the United States to provide safety to those seeking asylum when they are being persecuted in their home countries for being part of a particular social group; in these cases, being a woman. Beyond providing a clear legal path, violence at the United States border must be stopped through accountability measures and additional oversight of border agents. The United States is a nation built by immigrants and it must meet basic civilized expectations for the treatment of immigrants. These basic rights are protected by the United States Constitution and the violence brought on immigrants by United States actors while they are at facilities on American soil must stop.