Monday, 24 September, 2018

Attorney General Denies Asylum To Victims Of Domestic Abuse, Gang Violence

Immigrant rights groups say Sessions ruling could affect tens of thousands of women Immigrant rights groups say Sessions ruling could affect tens of thousands of women
Steven Clarke | 12 June, 2018, 04:17

In a speech to immigration judges in Virginia, Sessions revealed he will be making a decision Monday to '"restore the strong principles of asylum" and immigration law.

"Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-government actors will not qualify for asylum", Sessions wrote in 31-page decision.

The decision came hours after Sessions' latest criticism on the asylum system, which he and other administration officials consider rife with abuse.

The attorney general did not reveal the specifics of the changes to the law.

"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.

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.

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They said Sessions' decision overturns decades of legal efforts to protect abused women.

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. The cases can take years to resolve in backlogged immigration courts that Sessions oversees and applicants often are released on bond in the meantime.

"This is a decision that could have an extremely negative on women who are seeking asylum, people who are victimized due to their gender", she said.

He noted that, for the last five years, only 20 per cent of asylum claims have been found to be meritorious after a hearing before an immigration judge.

Sessions' finding followed his unusual move to intervene personally in the case known as the "Matter of A-B-". Some said the decision could have wide-ranging impacts on immigrants fleeing gang violence and gender-based violence, including female genital cutting or honor killings.

Sessions says this action is necessary to maintain "the rule of law", which is a pretty clear indication that his idea of "the law" includes neither justice nor mercy.

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