SPLC statement on Sessions' order to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a cruel and heartless decision to order immigration authorities to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence in their home countries. 

This decision strikes at the heart of longstanding protections guaranteed to asylum seekers, and will condemn tens of thousands of men, women and children to death.

By declaring that the lack of policing of domestic and gang violence in other countries cannot be the sole basis for asylum in the U.S., Sessions is instituting a policy that will block thousands of people from obtaining refuge in America. 

Women and children from other parts of the world who might have been able to get protection under these claims may now be deported to dangerous situations where they could very well lose their lives.

By shutting down most claims of persecution at the hands of criminal gangs and/or intimate partners, Sessions is demonstrating his contempt for immigrants and women. He is also providing further evidence of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, which separates families, creates fear in communities, and punishes vulnerable people who are fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries. 

What’s more, by referring immigration cases to himself for ideological reasons when he disagrees with an immigration court’s ruling, Sessions undermines fundamental due process rights and shows his contempt for the rule of law.

At a time when more people than ever are suffering forced displacement, this decision effectively turns our nation’s back on the most vulnerable people in the world.