Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Sessions: Abuse, gang violence victims generally will not qualify for asylum

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks at the Justice Department's Executive Officer for Immigration Review Annual Legal Training Program in Tysons Virginia Attorney General Sessions to Unveil Changes to Asylum Rules, Reduce Reasons Used for Asylum
Jeannette Daniel | 12 June, 2018, 04:18

Michelle Brané, director of the Women's Refugee Commission's Migrant Rights and Justice program headquartered in NY, said, "Attorney General Sessions' decision to limit the reasons why people can claim asylum is a devastating blow to families who come to our country seeking protection and safety".

Asylum is granted on grounds of persecution for race, religion, nationality, political affiliation or membership in a social group.

"The AG is sending a clear signal that he does not think these are legitimate asylum cases and that they should not even be considered", she said. ´"Unlike the federal judiciary system, the USA immigration courts fall under the Justice Department´s jurisdiction, and the attorney general can intervene".

Michelle Brané, director of the Women's Refugee Commission's Migrant Rights and Justice program, said in a statement: "Women and children will die as a result of these policies".

More news: 'Fair trade now fool trade', Trump vents anger on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Trudeau

The issue of granting asylum to domestic violence victims came into focus after Sessions personally intervened in the case of a Salvadoran woman living in the US. However, as the United States' chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general can intercede in its decisions to shape law.

Sessions faces criticism in Congress for a recent policy that separates children, including toddlers, from parents who illegally cross the U.S. -Mexico border. The woman, who fled her country four years ago after enduring more than a decade of domestic violence, has been living in the Carolinas and requested asylum.

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.

"Saying a few simple words - claiming a fear of return - is now transforming a straightforward arrest for illegal entry and immediate return into a prolonged legal process, where an alien may be released from custody into the United States and possibly never show up for an immigration hearing", Sessions said at a training event for immigration judges. He has also ordered them to complete 700 cases a year, imposing a quota system for the first time.

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