Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | ePaper
Sessions excludes domestic, gang violence from asylum claims
AP, San Diego :
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.
Domestic violence is a "particularly difficult crime to prevent and prosecute, even in the United States," Sessions wrote, but its prevalence in El Salvador doesn't mean that its government was unwilling or unable to protect victims any less so than the United States.