Attorney General Sessions to Release New Asylum Rules

Leroy Wright
June 12, 2018

Earlier, a 2014 immigration review board ruled that "depending on the facts and evidence in an individual case, "married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship" can constitute a cognizable particular social group that forms the basis of a claim for asylum".

The government does not say how many asylum claims are for domestic or gang violence, but asylum seeker advocates said there could be tens of thousands of domestic violence cases in the current immigration court backlog.

"It puts survivors of extreme domestic violence in great danger, because it allows them to be returned to countries where their governments do not protect them against this abuse", said Denise Gilman, director of the immigration clinic at the University of Texas Law School in Austin.

"Today, Iwill be issuing a decision that restores sound principles of asylum and long-standing principles of immigration law, " Sessions said.

"They continue to separate children from their families, and now they're targeting victims of domestic violence".

Such cases can be appealed to the circuit courts, which are part of the judicial branch of government. Many victims of domestic and gang violence seek protection on grounds of being in persecuted social group.

In the US, foreign nationals can qualify for asylum if they are able to establish that they would be persecuted in their home country based on their religion, race, nationality, political beliefs or "membership in a particular social group".

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Fifteen former immigration judges signed a letter calling Sessions' decision "an affront to the rule of law".

The decision is counterintuitive for the Trump administration, which is at the same time claiming that violence by the Central American MS-13 gang is one of the most pressing and unsafe issues of our time, but then not allowing victims of MS-13 violence to apply for asylum.

Sessions became President Trump's attorney general after years as an immigration hardliner in the U.S. Senate.

Illegal border crossers routinely claim they entered the United States to escape persecution, after which they are released with a promise to show up at a scheduled court hearing on their asylum claims, Sessions explained.

He remanded the case of A-B- back to Judge Stuart Couch in Charlotte, North Carolina, for further proceedings.

Monday's decision marks Sessions' latest effort to greatly restrict immigration. "The Trump immigration approach is increasingly defined by immorality and depravity". During a speech earlier in the day, Sessions said asylum was "was never meant to alleviate all problems- even all serious problems- that people face every day all over the world".

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