In a ruling that could have a significant impact on large numbers of Center Americans seeking asylum protection in the United States, General Attorney Jeff Sessions said immigration judges generally cannot consider domestic and gang violence as proper grounds for asylum claims.
Sessions ruled 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 domestic violence victim. The decision comes as no surprise, after he reopened the case for review back in March.
Asylum is granted on grounds of persecution for race, religion, nationality, political affiliation, or membership in a social group. Many domestic and gang violence victims seek asylum on grounds of being in a persecuted social group.
Sessions made the decision hours after his latest criticism on the asylum system, which he and other administration officials claim to be constantly abused. Resolving an asylum case can take years due to the backlogged immigration courts and applicants are released on bond in the meantime, which the attorney general refers to as “catch and release” since immigrants who are released might never appear for an immigration hearing.
The decision could affect tens and thousands of people claiming asylum on grounds of domestic violence.
For more information, contact our San Jose immigration lawyer at Verma Law Firm today.