Domestic abuse victims don’t qualify for U.S. asylum, rules Jeff Sessions

Clay Curtis
June 12, 2018

Donald Trump's administration has ordered USA immigration courts to stop granting asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence who come to America seeking safety, according to reports.

Sessions' made the unusual move to personally intervene in the case, known as the "Matter of A-B-" after the woman had won an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals to overturn a lower immigration court judge's denial of her asylum petition.

Sessions took aim at one of five categories to qualify for asylum - persecution for membership in a social group - calling it "inherently ambiguous".

Sessions' ruling on Monday was seen by immigration experts as a way to narrow how immigration judges interpret the law, and particularly discourage Central American women who have come to the U.S. by the tens of thousands in recent years seeking asylum. ´"Unlike the federal judiciary system, the U.S. immigration courts fall under the Justice Department´s jurisdiction, and the attorney general can intervene".

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

The attorney general said during his speech his impending decision would restore "sound principles of asylum and long standing principles of immigration law". "It will help you to rule more consistently and fairly", Sessions said, The Hill reported.

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Such a group can not be overly broad or diffuse, Sessions said, overruling a previous asylum decision which accepted married women who are victims of violent relationships as a persecuted group.

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

The inhumanity of the Trump Administration's asylum policy is staggering.

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.

Earlier this year, Sessions declared he would attempt to ensure that every person who crosses the border illegally would be prosecuted, and he has staunchly defended a new policy of separating women and children at the border, including those seeking asylum.

Sessions' decision to reinterpret the law runs counter to previously settled USA law and global law, she said.

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