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Attorney General Sessions to Release New Asylum Rules
12 June 2018, 08:44 | Devin Moran
Attorney General Sessions to Unveil Changes to Asylum Rules, Reduce Reasons Used for Asylum
Sessions' made the unusual move to personally intervene in the case, known as the "Matter of A-B-" after the woman had won an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals to overturn a lower immigration court judge's denial of her asylum petition.
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.
The decision came hours after Sessions' latest criticism on the asylum system in which he and other administration officials consider rife with abuse.
Trump and Sessions like to talk tough about crime, and particularly gang violence. The American Bar Assn. warned that ending the asylum eligibility for victims of domestic violence "would further victimize those most in need of protection".
Such cases can be appealed to the circuit courts, which are part of the judicial branch of government.
Immigration judges in the United States are required to rule on cases according to the attorney general's interpretation.
That's defined as someone who is "unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and can not obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future 'on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, '" by the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol.
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.
'"Credible fear claims have sky-rocketed and the percentage of asylum claims found to be meritorious by our judges has declined significantly", stated the attorney general.
Fifteen former immigration judges signed a letter calling Sessions' decision "an affront to the rule of law". Despite President Donald Trump's tough talk on immigration, border arrests topped 50,000 for a third straight month in May and lines of asylum seekers have grown at USA crossings with Mexico.
The Trump administration has accused migrants of exploiting the asylum system to gain entry to the United States, aware that the immigration courts are so backlogged that their cases could take years to complete.
Sessions has been unusually active in this practice compared to his predecessors by exercising his intervention authority to make it harder for some people to legally remain in the United States. During a speech earlier in the day, Sessions said asylum was "was never meant to alleviate all problems- even all serious problems- that people face every day all over the world".
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