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Thursday, January 19, 2017

USCIS Message: New DHS Outreach Strategy on Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting


Dear Stakeholder,
The following outreach strategy is now available on the Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) section of the USCIS website:
USCIS is pleased to share the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) newly created outreach strategy for Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C), drafted as a project of the DHS Council on Combatting Violence Against Women. The strategy reflects DHS’ commitment to broaden and enhance the work already underway to end the harmful traditional practice of FGM/C in the United States. The strategy describes both the general approach and specific future actions that DHS plans to take over time toward its goal of educating and reaching key stakeholders in the United States with relevant information about FGM/C.

FGM/C is gender-based violence and a serious human rights abuse. When done to children, FGM/C is also child abuse. It has no health benefits and can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems. This harmful traditional practice continues to negatively affect millions of women and girls around the world, including in the United States. In accordance with the U.S. government’s position on FGM/C, DHS opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. DHS currently works closely with its interagency partners to end FGM/C and is committed to expanding its existing efforts to raise awareness of the harm caused by FGM/C, the U.S. laws prohibiting the practice, and the assistance available to women and girls who have undergone or are at risk of FGM/C.

The release of the DHS FGM/C Outreach Strategy fulfills the Government Accountability Office’s recommendation (GAO-16-645: Published: Jun 30, 2016) for DHS to develop a written plan that describes the agency's approach for conducting education and outreach to key stakeholders in the United States regarding FGM/C, and to communicate that plan to stakeholders.