Trump administration moves to end asylum for victims of abuse and gangs

Trump administration moves to end asylum for victims of abuse and gangs

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.

"The decision itself really is looking to dial us back to the dark ages, before we really recognized women's rights as human rights", said Blaine Bookey, a lawyer at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. However, as the United States' chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general can intercede in its decisions to shape law. "Our asylum laws are meant to protect those who, because of characteristics like their race, religion, nationality, or political opinions can not find protection in their home countries", he said.

"Sessions' decision is a virtual death sentence for individuals fleeing domestic violence and pervasive gang violence", the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Twitter.

Sessions ruled Monday in a Board of Immigration Appeals case involving a woman from El Salvador whose asylum status was upheld in 2016 on claims that she was a victim of domestic violence.

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 United States by the tens of thousands in recent years seeking asylum.

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.

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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.

"We've spoken with Ms. A.B. herself, and she's incredibly fearful as you can imagine", Bookey said.

Critics called Monday's ruling the latest effort by the Trump administration to erode asylum protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, particularly those fleeing rampant gang violence and high homicide rates in Central America.

Sessions' decision on Monday is likely to be challenged in court.

"The world will know what our rules are, and great numbers will no longer undertake this unsafe journey", Sessions said on Monday.

Anger has continued to mount over the administration's recently introduced policy that separates children from migrant and refugee parents who are caught crossing the US-Mexico border. "An alien may suffer threats and violence in a foreign country for any number of reasons relating to her social, economic, family, or other personal circumstances".

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