NEW YORK — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under President Donald Trump’s administration are looking to limit the cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the United States.
On Wednesday, ICE announced a pilot program that will begin at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City that would educate non-citizens entering the United States on the dangers of FGM and to deter those entering the country from continuing the practice.
According to ICE, they along with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit, and the New York Border Enforcement Security Taskforce plan to educate, train, and enforce laws on FGM.
“Performing FGM on a child is a cruel and brutal act. Launching this outreach initiative is a testimony to our steadfast efforts to keep our children safe,” Angel M. Melendez, the special agent in charge of HSI New York said. “This is an intrusive and unnecessary practice against young girls and HSI, along with its law enforcement partners, will arrest and prosecute anyone looking to perform the act or transport young girls for such a nefarious procedure.”
The ICE program was modeled after a similar program currently implemented authorities at Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom. The program specifically targets the practice of “vacation cutting” by handing out brochures and identifying individuals who may be victims or offenders of the U.S.’ FGM laws. Authorities will zero in on flights to and from countries that are considered at risk for female genital cutting.
Minnesota House Republicans tried to pass tougher state laws on female genital mutilation following a federal crackdown on a Detroit clinic, where two doctors have been arrested in connection to several cases of FGM in the United States.
Two Minnesota girls under the age of 10 were forced to have the FGM procedure by their families at the Detroit clinic. Minnesota Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria), the author of the tougher bills previously told Alpha News, “Minnesota needs to send a strong message that we won’t stay silent and that the punishment will be harsh, including the potential loss of parental custody of these innocent victims.”