In Their Own Words

Jan 26, 2010

“The administrations of three different presidents – Clinton, Bush and Obama – have grappled with how to handle gender-based asylum claims, but the resolution of this case brings us closer to the end of this journey.  Ms. Alvarado can finally feel safe here in the United States, because she is no longer at risk of being deported to Guatemala.  The Obama administration must now issue regulations to ensure that other victims of domestic violence whose abuse rises to the level of persecution can obtain the same protection as refugees or asylees… The final resolution of this case gives me hope that abuse victims like Ms. Alvarado who meet the other conditions of asylum will be able to find safety in the United States… Yet, the administration’s work is not done.  It must issue binding regulations so that asylum seekers whose cases have been held in limbo for years can also be resolved and that future cases are not delayed in adjudication.” 
--- United States Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in a statement praising resolution of the Rody Alvarado Peña asylum case, December 15, 2009
“The United States was founded on the principle that all people are born with an unalienable right to freedom – an ideal that has driven the engine of American progress throughout our history… Yet even today, the darkness and inhumanity of enslavement exists.  Millions of people worldwide are held in compelled service, as well as thousands within the United States.  During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we acknowledge that forms of slavery still exist in the modern era, and we recommit ourselves to stopping the human traffickers who ply this horrific trade… The victims of modern slavery have many faces. They are men and women, adults and children. Yet, all are denied basic human dignity and freedom… We must join together as a Nation and global community to provide [a] safe haven by protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers. With improved victim identification, medical and social services, training for first responders, and increased public awareness, the men, women, and children who have suffered this scourge can overcome the bonds of modern slavery, receive protection and justice, and successfully reclaim their rightful independence.”
--- United States President Barack Obama in a proclamation commending National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, January 4, 2010.