Domestic, gang violence no longer grounds for U.S. asylum

Attorney General Sessions to Unveil Changes to Asylum Rules, Reduce Reasons Used for Asylum

Attorney General Sessions to Unveil Changes to Asylum Rules, Reduce Reasons Used for Asylum

Fifteen former immigration judges signed a letter calling Sessions' decision "an affront to the rule of law".

"Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum", the attorney general said in his decision.

Alleged false claims of persecution back home usually made by 80 per cent of illegal US border crossers who seek political asylum seem to have prompted a crackdown.

That disqualifies most victims of "personal crimes", the Justice Department said in an accompanying statement that specifically mentions domestic violence.

The attorney general's ruling said it is still possible that crime victims could win asylum in the United States, but they would have to pass a tougher test in the courts, including showing that their home government is unable or unwilling to protect them, and that they cannot safely relocate to another part of their own country.

"This administration continues to swiftly deconstruct America's moral code and values by doing everything possible to limit access to asylum".

"The inhumanity of the Trump Administration's asylum policy is staggering", Casey said in a tweet.

The decision is counterintuitive for the Trump administration, which is at the same time claiming that violence by the Central American MS-13 gang is one of the most pressing and risky issues of our time, but then not allowing victims of MS-13 violence to apply for asylum.

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a point during his speech at the Western Conservative Summit, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Denver.

In immigration court, certain opinions published by the Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest immigration court, serve to set national legal precedent.

Sessions announced his decision this afternoon.

The attorney general did not reveal the specifics of the changes to the law.

The Trump administration has accused migrants of exploiting the asylum system to gain entry to the United States, aware that the immigration courts are so backlogged that their cases could take years to complete.

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.

A Charlotte, North Carolina-based immigration judge denied the woman asylum.

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.

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