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

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

The woman, who is only identified by her initials, had won an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals to overturn a lower immigration court judge´s denial of her asylum petition.

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.

"Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum", Sessions wrote.

Immigration judges in the U.S. are required to rule on cases according to the attorney general's interpretation. The appeals board is typically the highest government authority on immigration law, but the attorney general has the power to assign cases to himself and set precedents.

The Trump administration has chose to stop granting asylum to victims of gang violence and domestic abuse - essentially blocking tens of thousands of people from seeking refuge in the U.S., many of them women.

The decision could have wide-ranging impacts on immigrants seeking refuge in the United States from violence in their home countries. "It is nearly certain that women will be killed as a result of this decision that will return them to their abusers".

Last year, the Trump administration used an executive order to put a travel ban in place, banning refugees from entering the US from certain countries.

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. Taking a tough stance on immigration has "become a political tool for the Trump administration to play to a base that's very anti-immigrant and anti-refugee", said Karen Musalo, professor of law at the U.C. Hastings College of the Law and co-counsel in the 2016 case Matter of A-B, the case Sessions reopened to make Monday's move.

"Today's decision by the Attorney General is yet another attempt to close our doors, " Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council.

A Charlotte, North Carolina-based immigration judge denied the woman asylum. In a speech earlier on Monday, Sessions told immigration officers that "asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems - even all serious problems - that people face every day all over the world".