US Attorney General curbs asylum for immigrant victims of violence

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

America to toughen screening of illegal migrants seeking asylum, Attorney-General says

The Trump administration is taking more steps to inhumanely respond to immigrants looking for refuge in the U.S. According to the Los Angeles Times, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ordering immigration judges to stop granting asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence. Earlier, a 2014 immigration review board ruled that "depending on the facts and evidence in an individual case, "married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship" can constitute a cognizable particular social group that forms the basis of a claim for asylum".

In the law's current interpretation, foreign nationals can apply for US asylum if they claim persecution or fear because of race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group or political viewpoint, the report said.

"It is a decision that sends a very strong message that asylum law is not going to provide the protection that it has in the past", said Gilman.

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They estimated that tens of thousands of asylum seekers would be shut out of the United States as a result.

But in the ruling, Sessions said such cases would be less common going forward.

The announcement came just hours after Session hinted at a change in the asylum law during a speech at an annual training conference on immigration.

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Immigrants say they have credible fear about returning to their home countries, so border agents have no choice but to place them in asylum proceedings. Sessions´ decision followed his unusual move to personally intervene in the case, known as the "Matter of A-B-".

"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 DOJ said today.

Last year, the Trump administration used an executive order to put a travel ban in place, banning refugees from entering the USA from certain countries. However, as the United States' chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general can intercede in its decisions to shape law.

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Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, said a key point in Sessions' ruling was that applicants needed to demonstrate that "the government condoned the private actions or demonstrated an inability to protect the victim".

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