As stated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), our country recognizes the right of asylum for qualified individuals who are fleeing persecution in other countries. Unfortunately, for those seeking asylum in the United States, the Trump Administration just made it much more difficult for victims of abuse and violence to get to safety in the United States.
On June 11th, 2018, Reuters reported that United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Executive Office For Immigration Review that he is releasing new guidance that restores “the sound principles of asylum” and prevents people from taking advantage of our asylum system.
This is a highly dishonest, completely misleading framing by the Attorney General. The recent decision made by Jeff Sessions seeks to effectively cut off asylum to victims of domestic violence and innocent people who are fleeing horrible oppression from the major drug cartels.
The Background Information You Need to Know: The Matter of A-B-
The case Attorney General Jeff Sessions used to make this major policy shift is called the ‘Matter of A-B-’. To understand what the Attorney General has done, it is important to understand what is at stake in this specific asylum case.
Ms. A- B- is an anonymous woman who was born in El Salvador. Over the course of her marriage, she was the victim of serious, sustained abuse, including severe physical and sexual violence. Her husband abused her for more than a decade. With nowhere to turn for protection, she fled her home country of El Salvador to seek asylum in the United States.
Upon arrival in the U.S., Ms. A- B- was screened by a federal immigration official and allowed to apply for American asylum. The officer determined that she had a credible fear of persecution in her home country. Notably, she was not fearing persecution from her government, but instead from a private actor (her husband). In these types of cases, the applicant must be able to establish that their home government is incapable of protecting them. Though her initial claim for asylum was denied, a three-member Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) unanimously reversed the denial.
Attorney General Sessions Intervenes, Changes U.S. Policy
In a highly unusual move, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepped in and took advantage of a rarely used legal power that allowed him to assign this case to himself for additional review. This is a terrible decision. The Attorney General is seeking to use this case, a horrible circumstance of domestic abuse, to set a strict precedent on future asylum cases.
Mr. Sessions used his authority to not only deny her claim, but to make precedent for future cases, thereby attempting to limit future asylum opportunities for those who have been victims of persecution by private actors. Disproportionately these applicants are those who are fleeing violent drug cartels and women and children who are fleeing domestic violence.
While they have repeatedly failed to protect immigrants, Congress desperately needs to take action to fix the damage caused by the Attorney General.
Get Help From a Southern California Immigration Lawyer Today
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are proud to be strong advocates for immigrant communities throughout Southern California. To get legal help from a top-rated immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, please do not hesitate to contact our law office today at (213) 262-2000 to arrange a fully confidential initial consultation.