A Salvadoran woman and her husband were kidnapped by a militant group.
The terrorists forced her husband, an Army Sergeant, to dig his own grave, and then brutally slaughtered him in front of her.
Only then did the real nightmare began.
Immediately afterwards, “under the threat of death”, she was forced into slavery. Her ordeal ended when she finally managed to escape and sought asylum in the US. An immigration court heard her horror story, and granted her Temporary Protection Status.
Enter Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice.
Incredibly, the asylum was challenged, and you won’t believe the argument: If you are forced into servitude under utterly hellish conditions, that still counts as “material support” for terrorists. Any reasonable judge would have thrown that argument out immediately and scolded the prosecution for hateful stupidity.
Instead, the rightwing Board of Immigration Appeals Judge Roger Pauley agreed. He ruled that “material support” can be “virtually anything that is provided to a terrorist organization that supports their overall mission that they would otherwise would need to seek somewhere else.” He concluded there is no exception for support “under duress”.
Chris Hayes of MSNBC tweeted about the recent ruling:
For the decision to be overturned, the victim would have to appeal directly to one man: Jeff Sessions.
Sessions is essentially a “one person Supreme Court of the immigration courts.” Sessions has exerted unprecedented control over the immigration courts and has even summarily ruled on cases—and set precedent—all by himself. (Yes, he can do that.)
So her only hope lies with convincing the very person who is the reason she will deported back—likely into the arms of the very people she escaped from. I don’t think Sessions will be to empathetic: he is bragging about this case as some sort of “win”. This is the same person, mind you, that decided infants and toddlers could be ripped from the arm’s of their mothers purely out of spite.
Trump and the GOP are reshaping the entire judicial branch of government in Trump’s image. Along with the record number of judicial vacancies that Trump is rapidly filling with unqualified ideologues, he is also enlarging it to create even more slots. Trump’s warped world view will serve as the basis of legal precedents for decades to come.
I’m writing this story right now as an outrage. Yet sadly, as more wacko judges are confirmed, I feel that stories like this will simply become the norm. We’ve already accepted so much from this administration. As I write this, young children are being torn from their parents and thrown in cages to serve as a warning to other migrants. It’s okay—they are all subhuman: which is the exact same mindset this woman’s tormenters had to begin with.
My point is not to look down upon third-world nations. They aren’t that behind us after all—in fact, they are looking more and more likely to be our future.