Immigrant's Choice: Family Separation Or Child Mutilation

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People on the street in Saint Louis, Senegal. The U.S. State Department says femal genital mutilation is widely practiced in Senegal.

People on the street in Saint Louis, Senegal. The U.S. State Department says femal genital mutilation is widely practiced in Senegal.

Photo by: Alexandra Pugachevsky

Some deportees must choose whether to leave their citizen children behind or bring them back to the ancestral land. That choice is even harder when genital mutilation is a threat.

By: Kateryna Stupnevich

After undergoing female genital mutilation as a child in Senegal, Fatoumata thought that her days of hardship were behind her once she settled in the United States. But after her Bronx home was raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2007, her husband was subsequently deported and Fatoumata now faces deportation herself.

Although she’s actively fighting to stay in the United States, she fears that there may come a day when she has to choose between leaving her six U.S.-born children behind or bringing them to Senegal, where she would face pressure to submit her four daughters to the same ritual that disfigured her.

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