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12 June 2018, 08:42 | Erica Roy
Attorney General Sessions to Unveil Changes to Asylum Rules, Reduce Reasons Used for Asylum
"Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum", Sessions said in a ruling that will be binding for immigration judges.
"You have a woman who barely survived more than a decade of horrific violence, who finally feels that she secured safety ... and now she's thrown into total turmoil again", said Musalo, who directs the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings' law school.
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. She said she was escaping from an ex-husband who had physically and emotionally abused her for years, even after she moved elsewhere in El Salvador.
SAN DIEGO Immigration judges generally cannot consider domestic and gang violence as grounds for asylum, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said today in a ruling that could affect large numbers of Central Americans who have increasingly turned to the United States for protection.
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 unsafe issues of our time, but then not allowing victims of MS-13 violence to apply for asylum.
"The vast majority of the current asylum claims are not valid, " Sessions told an audience that included 18 immigration judges recently assigned to detention centres near the U.S.
'"Credible fear claims have sky-rocketed and the percentage of asylum claims found to be meritorious by our judges has declined significantly", stated the attorney general.
Sessions said he made the decision in order to try and reduce the backlog of immigration-related court cases.
The United Nations High Commission on Refugees had urged Sessions against changing the asylum rules. Cracking down on illegal immigration and tightening legal immigration were major themes of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.
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