Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors approved her motion to direct the Chief Executive Officer to send a five-signature letter to the Department of Justice to rescind then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ June 2018 ruling in the asylum case of Matter of A-B-, the immigration court case that prevents victims of domestic violence, and other forms of non-state violence, from qualifying for asylum:
“This Administration’s claim that domestic violence should disqualify a person from seeking asylum in the United States is unlawful and a setback to human rights and women’s rights. Rather than advancing women’s rights, this Administration’s decision has set us back to a time when domestic violence was thought to be a private family matter and not the responsibility of government to intercede and protect the abused partner.
What is most alarming is the fact that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have instructed federal adjudicators to continue to uphold Matter of A-B- when they review and determine the merits of asylum claims, even though a federal judge ruled in December 2018 that the Administration had overstepped its authority when it adopted these stricter standards that reject domestic violence as a legitimate ground for asylum petitions. That decision blocked implementation of Matter of A-B-. This Administration is not above the law and cannot ignore federal court rulings.
The DOJ’s decision in Matter of A-B- is inhumane and heartless. It effectively closes a viable avenue for asylum seekers, many of whom are women fleeing Central America. Most women and girls seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border arrive from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. We must not turn our backs to survivors of domestic violence and gender-based violence. The Matter of A-B- ruling could force thousands of women, children, and LGBTQ+ migrants to return to unsafe and potentially deadly situations in their countries of origin. Matter of A-B- is inconsistent with our country’s deep-seated commitment to protect vulnerable immigrants who are fleeing for their lives.
This issue affects Los Angeles County. Many of these individuals seek refuge in LA County. Approximately 1.8 million County residents are noncitizens, including asylum applicants and refugees who have been granted asylum. Local advocacy groups that provide immigration services to survivors of domestic violence, and other impacted communities, are finding that many individuals are becoming more fearful to request assistance due to heightened federal immigration enforcement and widespread anti-immigrant rhetoric.
LA 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.”
Today’s Board motion also directs the County Chief Executive Officer to send a five-signature letter to the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation to express the County’s opposition to the Matter of A-B- decision and to recommend that the County Congressional Delegation instruct the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security not to use appropriated funds to implement the Matter of A-B- decision, and instead, urge Congress to enact laws that address the issues created by the Matter of A-B- decision.
This Board motion also instructs County Counsel to join and/or file an amicus brief in support of the Grace v. Barr lawsuit, which challenges the Matter of A-B- decision. This motion also directs County Counsel to evaluate and recommend whether the County should join as amicus in other lawsuits challenging the Administration’s attempts to deny asylum protections to individuals fleeing domestic violence or other forms of persecution perpetrated by organized crime groups in their native countries.
Today’s action marks the 47th immigration motion Supervisor Solis has authored to protect, defend, and fight for the rights of immigrants since the 2016 presidential election. Her efforts include a motion to contribute $3 million to the LA Justice Fund and the creation of the first-ever County Office of Immigrant Affairs. To view a complete list of these actions, please click here.
Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Communications Director, 213-359-0795 or firstname.lastname@example.org