Court Of Appeals Agrees That American Child Could Suffer FGM if Returned to Ethiopia


A husband and wife succeeded in getting their asylum case sent back to the lower court, when they feared returning to Ethiopia for fear that their American citizen child ~Amen~ would suffer female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is a series of surgical operations, involving the removal of some or all of the external genitalia, performed on girls and women. 



Mr. Sisay Mengistu and his wife, Ms. Almaz Abebe told an Immigration Judge that they opposed the practice of FGM, a ritual which “almost practically all females have to undergo” in . They explained that there was tremendous societal pressure for girls to undergo FGM, and that they would face rejection and isolation if they tried to prevent their American daughter from being subjected to the ritual.



The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, finding that a Department of State Report articulated that as of 1993, 90% of women in were subjected to FGM. Another report corroborated their claim that that the ethnic group to which their families belong, the Amharas, regularly practiced FGM. The Court held that “the evidence indicated that the probability that Amen would have to undergo this ritual greatly exceeded the threshold required to establish eligibility for asylum.” asylum. The case was remanded to the Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider granting asylum of the basis of FGM.



Court finds that Governments are not given a free pass to torture and kill citizens as a form of such punishment for not joining the military.



In yet another Ethiopian asylum case, Selemawit Giday sought asylum in because the government of , where she was born and raised, persecuted her due to her mixed Ethiopian and Eritrean ancestry. Giday was born and raised in
, and considered herself Eritrean. However, because her mother is Ethiopian and her father Eritrean, she suffered persecution from the Eritrean Government during ‘s conflict with .



Specifically, the Eritrean government took Giday into custody and placed her in a crowded, hot and dirty, detention facility for Ethiopians awaiting forced deportation. At the detention facility, she could use the bathroom facilities only two times a day, had no opportunity to present her case to a judge and was beaten and pushed around. 



Both the Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals did not find her story credible and denied asylum. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit disagreed, and found that denationalization (forcibly stripping Giday of her Eritrean citizenship) and deportation seemed to constitute persecution.



Recognizing that “’s human rights record remains poor” and “Ethiopian nationals clearly face continued human rights abuses in
. The government singles them out for arrest when they are unable to renew their residency permits every six months and they continue to be detained in unknown numbers,” the Court sent the case back to the Immigration Judge.



work visas for foreign nationals holding advanced degrees from universities are running out



CIS has indicated that as of mid-December, a total of 17,067 cases have been counted against the 20,000 H-1B cap exemption for holders of advanced degrees from U.S. universities. In other words, if you hold an advanced degree (Master’s or higher) from an


, you better act fast to file for an H-1B petition.



Protect those social security number cards.



Make sure you take good care of those social security number cards! The Social Security Administration announced that it will implement rules that will limit the number of times a social security number (SSN) card will be replaced: no more than three in one year and a total of ten in a lifetime. There is currently no numerical limitation on the number of replacement or new cards that will be issued. The only restriction is that a card will not be replaced within seven days of a previous issuance. The rules do provide for reasonable exceptions, such as when a person’s name changes, or when a foreign national’s immigration status changes which results in a necessary change to a restrictive legend on the SSN card.



Facts & Figures


Here is some interesting data:



  • Since the end of forced migration only a small number of Africans have been able to come to the in contrast with other immigrant groups.


  • From 1820 to 1993 only took in 418,000 African immigrants according to Immigration and Naturalization records,


  • In 1993 alone 345,425 Asians came to .


  • Only in the last quarter of the century has the number of African immigrants grown tremendously. Two-thirds of all African immigrants currently in the arrived after 1980.


  • African-born residents in the are highly educated, urbanized, and have one of the highest per capita incomes of any immigrant group. An article in The Economist magazine in its May 11, 1996 issue stated, "…Three-quarters have some college experience; one in four has an advanced degree.”


  • Nearly 88 percent of adults who immigrate from Africa to the
    have a high school education or higher.



Please note that nothing on this page should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information is intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice, consult an attorney experienced in immigration law.


About Igbanugo Partners International Law Firm

Igbanugo Partners Int'l Law Firm is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It focuses on (1) U.S. immigration law and (2) international trade law in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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