Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Victims of domestic, gang violence 'generally' won't qualify for asylum: Jeff Sessions

Victims of domestic, gang violence 'generally' won't qualify for asylum: Jeff Sessions

"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", he continued.

Our nation's immigration laws provide for asylum to be granted to individuals who have been persecuted, or who have a well-founded fear of persecution, on account of their membership in a 'particular social group, ' but most victims of personal crimes do not fit this definition-no matter how vile and reprehensible the crime perpetrated against them.

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". But Sessions recently called into question whether such cases merited protection under USA asylum laws.

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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.

The decision serves the biggest blow to women, many of whom flee Central America escaping domestic abuse and violence from gang members in their communities. "Turning our backs on victims of violence and deporting them to grave danger should not be the legacy sought by any administration".

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.

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And immigration courts overall face a backlog of about 700,000 cases of all types. The woman, who fled her country four years ago after enduring more than a decade of domestic violence, has been living in the Carolinas and requested asylum.

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. Asylum-seekers must also demonstrate that their home government is unwilling or unable to protect them.

The case is one of severalSessions has assigned to himself since becoming attorney general.

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

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