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Attorney General Jeff Sessions excludes domestic and gang violence from asylum claims

Attorney General Jeff Sessions excludes domestic and gang violence from asylum claims

However, as the United States' chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general can intercede in its decisions to shape law.

Erika Andiola, a DACA recipient from Mexico and the former press secretary of Bernie Sanders, shared on Twitter that her mother was a victim of domestic violence.

Jeff Sessions declared that claims of domestic violence or violence from criminal gangs are not acceptable for seeking asylum in the US. She anticipates other cases in the pipeline may reach the appeals court first. So it was no surprise when he refused to grant Ms. A-B- asylum-or when the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals reversed his decision.

The woman could still potentially appeal the case again to the Board of Immigration Appeals, then a federal appeals court and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court.

The government does not say how many asylum claims are for domestic or gang violence, but asylum seeker advocates said there could be tens of thousands of domestic violence cases in the current immigration court backlog.

In the US, foreign nationals can qualify for asylum if they are able to establish that they would be persecuted in their home country based on their religion, race, nationality, political beliefs or "membership in a particular social group".

In the meantime, Sessions says he hopes his message is reaching would-be asylum-seekers in Central America and that they think twice before traveling to the US border.

To seek asylum in the United States, one needs to qualify as a refugee, Congress decided in 1980. In March, Sessions ended a requirement that asylum seekers get a full hearing before an immigration judge, making it easier for judges to close cases they deem frivolous or unlikely to succeed. "Today I will be exercising the responsibility given to me under the [Immigration and Nationality Act], I will be issuing a decision that restores sound principles of asylum and long-standing principles of immigration law". Cracking down on illegal immigration and tightening legal immigration were major themes of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

"This is not just about domestic violence, or El Salvador, or gangs", she said. "Our asylum laws are meant to protect those who, because of characteristics like their race, religion, nationality, or political opinions can not find protection in their home countries", he said.

Sessions says this action is necessary to maintain "the rule of law", which is a pretty clear indication that his idea of "the law" includes neither justice nor mercy.