Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Tammy Duckworth wants to make it legal to bring her baby to Senate, Elizabeth Warren is being stonewalled by Wall Street, and we reflect on the legacy of Barbara Bush. Enjoy your Wednesday.
• No asylum for the abused? Central American women who are victims of domestic abuse are often successful in winning asylum in America. However, Politico‘s Julia Preston reports that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is currently “leading a broad review to question whether domestic or sexual violence should ever be recognized as persecution that would justify protection in the United States.”
It’s a question with broad implications: The Justice Department reports that in 2011, more than 90% of migrants who asked for refuge were “single adult males.” Now, 40% are “families and children.”
Since the immigration courts are part of the Justice Department rather than the independent federal judiciary, Sessions can pick cases to decide on his own—and he has done so in four cases since January (an unusually high number, according to Preston). The AG will use one of those cases to resolve a fundamental question: whether being a victim of private criminal activity—such as domestic violence—fits the legal requirements for asylum. In another, he aims to answer the question of when immigration judges can suspend certain deportation cases, potentially making it more difficult for victims of trafficking or women who have been abused by a spouse or relative to come to the U.S.
Sessions’ decisions matter: If upheld on appeal, they will become binding precedents for the immigration courts—and may alter refugee law in such a way that victims of domestic abuse will no longer be able to find safety.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Remembering a first lady. Barbara Bush—wife of one U.S. president and mother of another—died yesterday. She was 92. The cause wasn’t immediately released, but she had been known to be in failing health. This piece looks back on the history of her life, her thoughts on the role of the first lady, her experience with depression, and her literary legacy.
• Bring Your Kid to Senate Day. Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D) has submitted a resolution that would allow senators to bring children under the age of one onto the Senate floor during votes. If the resolution does pass, Duckworth could be the first senator to bring her newborn into the chamber. (Currently, Senate rules dictate that family members, including children, are not allowed on the floor.)
• Warren wants answers. Last month, Elizabeth Warren asked the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for information it has on terminations tied to sexual misconduct, but the body’s response “wasn’t very illuminating,” Bloomberg reports. Because the Finra’s oversight is limited to brokerages, it doesn’t have access to data on sexual harassment involving banks, mutual funds, hedge funds and insurers. Moreover, termination forms don’t focus on sexual harassment. Warren “is making it her mission to change that.”
• Breaking the curse. A truly fascinating long-form piece by Time‘s Aryn Baker, who reports on how the juju oath keeps “many young Nigerian women bound to the sex trafficking trade, desperately afraid of the curse that might befall them if they break its terms.” Women who take the traditional oath swear to pay back “debts” to traffickers who promise them jobs in Europe—and are then forced into sex work. “But the power of the oath is now under assault from an unexpected origin: the traditional ruler of the [Southwest Nigerian] Edo people, Ewuare II.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• World’s most interesting woman? BI has the backstory on U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, the woman presiding over the case involving President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. Highlights include: “She once trained to be a Playboy bunny, almost became attorney general for President Bill Clinton, and officiated billionaire investor George Soros’ 2013 wedding.”
• Whitney writes. Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd pens an op-ed for WSJ, calling for concrete steps to improve gender inequities in the workplace. She reminds us of the way in which began her career at Tinder and warns against thinking that a cultural shift alone will solve the problem: “I was 24 when I was embroiled in a high-profile lawsuit. This was 2014, long before, en masse and on social media, we said #MeToo and #TimesUp. At the time, I felt completely alone.”
Wall Street Journal
• Rubin re-thinks Republicans. Politico profiles Jennifer Rubin, who “has become a leading voice for a group of conservative intellectuals who don’t fit comfortably in either political party—and sees the party she left behind as ‘immoral’ and ‘anti-American.'”
• Will Stormy run? Cosmo‘s Christy Smith-Sloman, who interviewed Stormy Daniels during her Senate run in 2009—”She was picked by a group called Draft Stormy, a non-partisan grassroots movement in Louisiana to take on [Louisiana] Republican incumbent David Vitter”—wonders whether the former porn star will run for office again. One thing that Daniels says may work in her favor? The fact that everything is out in the open, so to speak. “I have nothing to hide, I’m open and honest and there’s not going to be a sex tape of me…Well actually there is, about 150 of them.”