Domestic, gang violence no longer grounds for U.S. asylum

Domestic, gang violence no longer grounds for U.S. asylum

The government does not say how many asylum claims are for domestic or gang violence, but asylum seeker advocates said there could be tens of thousands of domestic violence cases in the current immigration court backlog.

In his decision, Sessions argues the asylum system is not meant to protect victims of violent crime but people fleeing from persecution, like religious minorities or political dissidents. It overturns a 2014 ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which held that domestic violence victims from Central American countries could qualify for asylum in the US.

HRW documented more than 100 cases of women and children being held in frigid conditions beyond the three-day period recommended by CBP.

Domestic violence is a "particularly hard crime to prevent and prosecute, even in the United States", Sessions wrote, but its prevalence in El Salvador doesn't mean that its government was unwilling or unable to protect victims any less so than the United States.

"The decision itself really is looking to dial us back to the dark ages, before we really recognized women's rights as human rights", said Blaine Bookey, a lawyer at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. 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.

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Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report detailing the harsh conditions women and children have faced in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody along the US-Mexico border.

Such cases can be appealed to the circuit courts, which are part of the judicial branch of government.

Sessions' statement set the standard for immigration judges facing a massive surge in cases of undocumented immigrants. House votes against reviving tech office MORE announced the change in policy on Monday, saying the asylum system was being "abused to the detriment of the rule of law". The decision could have wide-ranging impacts on immigrants especially from Central America seeking refuge in the United States from violence in their home countries.

Last month, Sessions revoked immigration judges' broad authority to close cases through a process known as administrative closure after referring a different case to himself. The administration of President Donald Trump has been taking tough stances on asylum seekers, under the pretext of curbing the flood of illegal immigrants.

However, Sessions said that the so-called credible fear claim has increased from 5,000 in 2009 to 94,000 in 2016, The Hill reported.

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