Sessions Excludes Domestic, Gang Violence From Asylum Claims

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s 30th annual candlelight vigil in Washington

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s 30th annual candlelight vigil in Washington

"While I do not decide that violence inflicted by non-governmental actors may never serve as the basis for an asylum or withholding application based on membership in a particular social group, in practice such claims are unlikely to satisfy the statutory grounds for proving group persecution that the government is unable or unwilling to address", he said.

Sessions' finding followed his unusual move to intervene personally in the case known as the "Matter of A-B-". In this instance, he used a case involving a victim of domestic violence from El Salvador to rule that survivors of such "private" crimes are not eligible for asylum under US law.

"In reaching these conclusions, I do not minimize the vile abuse that the respondent reported she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband", Sessions wrote in his order.

Sessions' action to attempt to exclude domestic and gang violence as valid reasons to seek asylum did not come as a surprise. He claims this "ruling restores sound principles of asylum and longstanding principles of immigration law".

The woman could still potentially appeal the case again to the Board of Immigration Appeals, then a federal appeals court and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court.

Advocates were quick to denounce Sessions' ruling.

The decision could have wide-ranging impacts on immigrants seeking refuge in the United States from violence in their home countries.

That disqualifies most victims of "personal crimes", the Justice Department said in an accompanying statement that specifically mentions domestic violence. "What Sessions is doing is a broader, frontal assault on women's' rights".

The policy, meant to be a deterrent, has sparked strong criticism and an accusation from the UN Human Rights Office that children's rights are being violated by the policy.

U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi joined those denouncing the decision.

"The inhumanity of the Trump Administration's asylum policy is staggering", Casey said in a tweet. "This decision will provide more clarity for you".

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a point during his speech at the Western Conservative Summit, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Denver.

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees had urged Sessions against changing the asylum rules.

Sessions ruled Monday in a Board of Immigration Appeals case involving a woman from El Salvador whose asylum status was upheld in 2016 on claims that she was a victim of domestic violence.

A Charlotte, North Carolina-based immigration judge denied the woman asylum.

An investigation by Reuters past year found that Couch orders immigrants deported 89 percent of the time.

They said Sessions' decision overturns decades of legal efforts to protect abused women. "The Trump immigration approach is increasingly defined by immorality and depravity".

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