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

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

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 has claimed asylum seekers are "gaming" the United States immigration system, and this move is seemingly created to prevent that.

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.

Sessions took aim at one of five categories to qualify for asylum - persecution for membership in a social group - calling it "inherently ambiguous". Gilman expects the decision will ultimately be reversed, but until then, she believes it makes a clear statement that the USA does not want asylum seekers to come into the country, while putting vulnerable people in potentially deadly situations. "Today I will be exercising the responsibility given to me under the [Immigration and Nationality Act], I will be issuing a decision that restores sound principles of asylum and long-standing principles of immigration law".

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. Sessions´ decision followed his unusual move to personally intervene in the case, known as the "Matter of A-B-".

"This administration continues to swiftly deconstruct America's moral code and values by doing everything possible to limit access to asylum".

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"The vast majority of the current asylum claims are not valid, " Sessions told an audience that included 18 immigration judges recently assigned to detention centres near the U.S. However, as the United States' chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general can intercede in its decisions to shape law.

A Charlotte, North Carolina-based immigration judge denied the woman asylum.

Monday's decision marks Sessions' latest effort to greatly restrict immigration.

In a speech earlier that day, the Times reported that Sessions bolstered this ruling by saying "asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems-even all serious problems-that people face every day all over the world".

Immigrant rights advocates say Sessions' decision runs counter to decades of established precedent.

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