Thursday, February 7, 2019

USCIS Statement on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

On Feb. 6, 2019, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) join other U.S. government agencies and the international community in calling for an end to the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C). 

FGM/C is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for no medical reason.

The United Nations reports that more than 200 million women and girls around the world have undergone some form of FGM/C. On Zero Tolerance Day, we are raising awareness about this practice, which is happening here in the United States, in small towns and big cities alike. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 500,000 girls in the United States are at risk of having FGM/C performed on them.

FGM/C is a human rights violation and a crime under federal law and in 28 states. When committed against children, it is a form of child abuse. People who commit this crime can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. We support ongoing efforts nationwide that uphold laws criminalizing FGM/C.

We continue to work with interagency partners to implement the Department of Homeland Security’s Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) Outreach Strategy (PDF, 263 KB) and provide resources highlighting FGM/C-related assistance to women and girls who have undergone or are at risk of FGM/C. We will continue to identify opportunities to #EndFGM in the United States and worldwide. 

Read more information about the practice of FGM/C in the USCIS FGM/C brochure (PDF, 714 KB), the U.S. Government Fact Sheet (PDF, 573 KB), and on the United Nations’ Zero Tolerance Day website.

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