Kirsters Baish| Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that neither domestic or gang violence should qualify as reasons to allow immigrants asylum in the United States. The announcement was made during this year’s annual 3-day Executive Officer for Immigration Review conference in Virginia.
Attorney General Sessions was delivering a speech in front of immigration judges today. He stated, “It will be your duty to carry out this ruling. Asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems, even all serious problems, that people face every day all over the world.”
The Attorney General explained that the people of our country cast their votes in November of 2016. They voted for Trump, who promised secure borders.
Sessions stated, “Let’s be clear. We have a goal. And that goal is to end the lawlessness that now exists in our immigration system. The American people have spoken. They have spoken in our laws and they have spoken in our elections. They want a safe, secure border and a lawful system of immigration that actually works and serves the national interest. Thank you for what you do, let’s deliver this for the American people.”
During the Obama era, applications for asylum skyrocketed because of a damaging “catch and release” policy that was being enforced. This policy is largely at fault for the spike in illegal immigration in our country.
Recall back to April, when a large caravan full of illegal immigrants was publicized after traveling from Central America to the United States border.
Fox News reported:
Immigration judges generally cannot consider domestic and gang violence as grounds for asylum, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday in a ruling that could affect large numbers of Central Americans who have increasingly turned to the United States for protection.
“Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-government actors will not qualify for asylum,” Sessions wrote in 31-page decision. “The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.”
The widely expected move overruled a Board of Immigration Appeals decision in 2016 that gave asylum status to a woman from El Salvador who fled her husband. Sessions reopened the case for his review in March.
Sessions took aim at one of five categories to qualify for asylum – persecution for membership in a social group – calling it “inherently ambiguous.” The other categories are for race, religion, nationality and political affiliation.
Attorney General Sessions explained that domestic violence is a “particularly difficult crime to prevent and prosecute, even in the United States.” However, the fact that this kind of violence in so common in El Salvador does not mean that the government is less able to protect domestic violence victims.
Bender’s Immigration Bulletin’s editor, Dan Kowalski, felt that the decision could potentially have an effect on thousands looking to claim asylum based on domestic violence.
During a training event for judges of immigration, Sessions stated, “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. This is a large part of what has been accurately called ‘catch and release.'”
Sessions’ decision is a great step in the right direction, but that’s all it can be look at as. It’s just a step. We have a long ways to go to secure our country’s borders.