Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

ASYLUM CRACKDOWN: Sessions Moves to ‘BLOCK’ Asylum Seekers from Entering US

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions US Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Deanna Wagner | 12 June, 2018, 04:16

On the heels of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that domestic violence and gang violence should no longer serve as a basis for seeking asylum in the us, immigration experts are warning that the decision puts many asylum seekers, particularly women, in harm's way. 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".

Sessions took aim at one of five categories to qualify for asylum - persecution for membership in a social group - calling it "inherently ambiguous".

Sessions declared that claims of domestic violence, or violence from criminal gangs that flourish across much of the region, do not meet the threshold for an asylum request at the USA border.

They estimated that tens of thousands of asylum seekers would be shut out of the U.S. as a result. Some said the decision could have wide-ranging impacts on immigrants fleeing gang violence and gender-based violence, including female genital cutting or honor killings.

The policy, meant to be a deterrent, has sparked strong criticism and an accusation from the UN Human Rights Office that children's rights are being violated by the policy.

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

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a point during his speech at the Western Conservative Summit, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Denver.

The attorney general did not reveal the specifics of the changes to the law. "Yet the asylum statute does not provide redress for all misfortune", Sessions said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to reduce the number of excuses people can use to claim asylum in an effort to halt abuse of the system.

He remanded the case of A-B- back to Judge Stuart Couch in Charlotte, North Carolina, for further proceedings.

"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.