USA won't give asylum to victims of gangs, domestic abuse


In a brutal confirmation of the Trump administration's callousness toward the safety or welfare of people fleeing terrible situations and trying to enter the U.S., Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to people who are victims of gang violence or domestic abuse.

In the US, foreign nationals can qualify for asylum if they are able to establish that they would be persecuted in their home country based on their religion, race, nationality, political beliefs or "membership in a particular social group". "It will help you to rule more consistently and fairly", Sessions said, The Hill reported.

Sessions' action to attempt to exclude domestic and gang violence as valid reasons to seek asylum did not come as a surprise.

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

A spokesperson for Sessions did not immediately return a request for comment when reached by the Guardian for further details.

In early May Sessions announced that any illegal border-crossers, including asylum seekers, would first be charged with a crime, and parents and children would be separated.

The inhumanity of the Trump Administration's asylum policy is staggering.

In a speech earlier Monday, Sessions made clear the Trump administration's ongoing frustration with the border situation.

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Sessions ruled Monday in a Board of Immigration Appeals case involving a woman from El Salvador whose asylum status was upheld in 2016 on claims that she was a victim of domestic violence.

"Asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems - even all serious problems - that people face every day all over the world".

"We have not acted hastily, but carefully, " Sessions said in the statement to the judges.

More than 7,800 asylum applications were filed in March alone. The cases can take years to resolve in backlogged immigration courts that Sessions oversees and applicants often are released on bond in the meantime.

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

"Today's decision will send untold numbers of refugees to their deaths", he said.

"That's quite a high burden", he said on Twitter.