Friday, 21 September, 2018

USA won't give asylum to victims of gangs, domestic abuse

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke directly to immigration judges at an annual Executive Office for Immigration Review trai Attorney General Sessions to Unveil Changes to Asylum Rules, Reduce Reasons Used for Asylum
Ellis Copeland | 12 June, 2018, 08:44

Three months ago, he re-opened Matter of A-B (named for the woman's initials) - which affirmed the asylum status of a woman from El Salvador who was the victim of domestic violence - to make his announcement, as the case went to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

"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.

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

"This is not just about domestic violence", said Musalo.

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. 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 told immigration judges, whose courts are part of the Justice Department, that his decision "restores sound principles of asylum and long standing principles of immigration law".

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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.

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

Monday's decision marks Sessions' latest effort to greatly restrict immigration. House votes against reviving tech office MORE announced the change in policy on Monday, saying the asylum system was being "abused to the detriment of the rule of law". Despite President Donald Trump's tough talk on immigration, border arrests topped 50,000 for a third straight month in May and lines of asylum seekers have grown at US crossings with Mexico.

Immigrant rights advocates say Sessions' decision runs counter to decades of established precedent.

A Charlotte, North Carolina-based immigration judge denied the woman asylum. Cracking down on illegal immigration and tightening legal immigration were major themes of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

"Asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems - even all serious problems - that people face every day all over the world", Sessions said this morning in a speech before immigration judges in Virginia.

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