Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Sessions Excludes Domestic, Gang Violence From Asylum Claims

Sessions Excludes Domestic, Gang Violence From Asylum Claims

In making his determination, he declared that a decision in a 2014 case before the Board of Immigration Appeals, which allowed victims of gender-based violence to claim USA asylum, "was wrongly decided and should not have been issued as a precedential decision". He said it will help reduce the growing backlog of 700,000 court cases, more than triple the number in 2009.

To qualify for asylum, foreign nationals must establish that they have a fear of persecution in their homeland based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or "membership in a particular social group, " a catch-all category that has in the past included victims of domestic violence and other abuse.

Sessions' decision drew immediate rebukes from dozens of immigration rights advocate groups and lawyers.

"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 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".

Sessions faces criticism in Congress for a recent policy that separates children, including toddlers, from parents who illegally cross the U.S. -Mexico border.

"I understand that many victims of domestic violence may seek to flee from their home countries to extricate themselves from a dire situation or to give themselves the opportunity for a better life", he continued. However, as the United States' chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general can intercede in its decisions to shape law.

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

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees had urged Sessions against changing the asylum rules. "The Trump immigration approach is increasingly defined by immorality and depravity".

Sessions said the woman obtained restraining orders against her husband and had him arrested at least once.

Judges will be required to take Sessions ruling into account when decided on asylum cases.

Sessions sent the case back to an immigration judge, whose ruling can be appealed to the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals and then to a federal appeals court, Musalo said.

Trump and Sessions like to talk tough about crime, and particularly gang violence. He has also ordered them to complete 700 cases a year, imposing a quota system for the first time.

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