Jeff Sessions excludes domestic, gang violence from asylum claims

Pauline Gross
June 12, 2018

"But the 'asylum statute is not a general hardship statute, '" he said, citing an earlier immigration case.

This reverses the Obama administration's guidance, and will affect tens of thousands of people, mostly women, who apply for asylum as victims of rape and other domestic violence each year, coming especially from chaotic Central American countries.

Fifteen former immigration judges signed a letter calling Sessions' decision "an affront to the rule of law". The new order would block thousands of people, especially women, from reaching asylum after fleeing violence in their home countries.

"The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes-such as domestic violence or gang violence-or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, can not itself establish an asylum claim", the ruling added.

Alleged false claims of persecution back home usually made by 80 per cent of illegal US border crossers who seek political asylum seem to have prompted a crackdown. House votes against reviving tech office MORE announced the change in policy on Monday, saying the asylum system was being "abused to the detriment of the rule of law".

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To discourage people from coming to the United States, federal officials recently adopted a "zero tolerance" policy for illegal border crossings, criminally prosecuting people even if they are seeking asylum or have crossed the border with their children.

Sessions issued this decision under the precedent that domestic violence is a "private" matter and does not make anyone eligible for asylum in the U.S.

Domestic violence is a "particularly hard crime to prevent and prosecute, even in the United States", Sessions wrote, but its prevalence in El Salvador doesn't mean that its government was unwilling or unable to protect victims any less so than the United States. "The Trump immigration approach is increasingly defined by immorality and depravity".

Monday's ruling by Sessions centers on an asylum case filed by a Salvadoran woman who entered the United States illegally in 2014.

Mr Sessions reopened the case for his review in March as the administration stepped up criticism of asylum practices. "Today we are deeply disappointed that our country will no longer offer legal protection to women seeking refuge from bad forms of domestic violence from which their home countries are unable or unwilling to protect them". He has also ordered them to complete 700 cases a year, imposing a quota system for the first time.

Other reports by GizPress

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