The Matter of Kassindja Fauziya

The Matter of Kasinga was a high-profile American legal case decided in June 1996 involving Fauziya Kassindja, a 17-year-old Tchamba-Koussountou girl from Kpalimé, Togo. In 1994, Kassindja fled Togo to escape a forced marriage and Kakia (female circumcision). When she sought asylum in the U.S., she was arrested and sent to the Esmor detention center in Elisabeth, New Jersey. ⁠

When riots broke over the mistreatment of asylum seekers, she was transferred to several prisons, where she was held for over a year. On June 13, 1996, the Board of Immigration Appeals granted her asylum after an earlier judge denied her claims. In addition to setting a national precedent that established “gender-based persecution” as grounds for asylum, the case shed light on the abuses faced by immigrants in American immigration detention facilities. ⁠