Sessions announces stricter asylum rules for victims of domestic battery, gang violence

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"It will help you to rule more consistently and fairly", Sessions said, The Hill reported.

In a speech to immigration judges in Virginia, Sessions revealed he will be making a decision Monday to '"restore the strong principles of asylum" and immigration law.

"The asylum system is being abused to the detriment of the rule of law, sound public policy and public safety - and to the detriment of people with just claims", Sessions said.

Sessions' ruling overturned a 2016 decision by the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals that said an abused woman from El Salvador was eligible for asylum.

"Today's decision by the Attorney General is yet another attempt to close our doors, " Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council.

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"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, can not itself establish an asylum claim", he continued. The policy would affect tens of thousands of migrants fleeing violence in Central America and seeking to claim asylum in the US. "It is nearly certain that women will be killed as a result of this decision that will return them to their abusers". "Turning our backs on victims of violence and deporting them to grave danger should not be the legacy sought by any administration". Such criminal prosecutions mean separating parents from their children.

Sessions overturned a key immigration case that had granted asylum to a Salvadoran woman who had been raped and beaten by her former husband. Asylum-seekers must also demonstrate that their home government is unwilling or unable to protect them. Some said the decision could have wide-ranging impacts on immigrants fleeing gang violence and gender-based violence, including female genital cutting or honor killings.

Sessions' finding followed his unusual move to intervene personally in the case known as the "Matter of A-B-".

"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", Sessions said at a training event for immigration judges.