By The Daily Caller. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday that fear of domestic abuse alone is not enough to qualify for asylum, a ruling that could affect thousands of migrants from Central America who say they are fleeing violence in their home countries.
Sessions’ legal opinion reverses a 2014 ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals that granted asylum to a woman from El Salvador who had been raped by her husband, in a case known as “Matter of A-R-C-G-.” That ruling established a precedent under which so-called “personal crimes” could be considered grounds for an asylum claim.
The BIA decision was “wrongly decided and should not have been issued as a precedential decision,” Sessions countered in his opinion. He argued that personal violence alone was not enough to meet the standard for a valid asylum claim under U.S. law.
“An alien may suffer threats and violence in a foreign country for any number of reasons relating to her social, economic, family, or other personal circumstances,” he wrote. . .
Sessions’ opinion comes as the Trump administration seeks to close what it calls “loopholes” in immigration law that encourage migrants to cross the border illegally. (Read more from “Sessions Tightens Asylum Standards, Domestic Violence No Longer Enough for Valid Claim” HERE)
Thousands of U.S. Asylum Claims in Doubt After Sessions’ Decision
By Reuters. New limitations on asylum imposed by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions could invalidate tens of thousands of pending claims brought by women, children and men fleeing violence in their home countries, according to immigration attorneys. . .
At least 230,000 of the 711,000 cases before U.S. immigration courts involve asylum petitions from Central America and Mexico, according to a Reuters analysis of data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which runs U.S. immigration courts.
Attorneys said most claims from this region are based on domestic or gang violence. Those cases will be far harder – if not impossible – to win in light of Sessions’ decision, they said.
In a case known as the “Matter of A-B,” the attorney general revoked a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals that carved out special protections for domestic violence victims. The decision narrowed who can qualify for asylum because they were victims of criminal activity, as opposed to government persecution. (Read more from “Thousands of U.S. Asylum Claims in Doubt After Sessions’ Decision” HERE)