Jeff Sessions Imperils Asylum Seekers

In a display of true heartlessness, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the U.S. government will no longer consider claims of domestic violence or gang violence as valid reasons to grant asylum.

The Washington Post published an attention-grabbing yet entirely accurate headline today reading, “‘Back to the Dark Ages’: Sessions’s asylum ruling reverses decades of women’s rights progress, critics say.”

Just as the headline says, Sessions’ decision endangers and devalues the lives of every single woman in the world who has or is experiencing domestic violence, as well as the lives of every person pressed into a gang.

In 2014, Aminta Cifuentes approached Guatemalan police and told them about the brutal beatings her husband had been subjecting her to for years.

He would kick her, punch her, and burn her with acid.

When she was 8 months pregnant he punched her so hard in the stomach that her child was born premature, covered in bruises.

The authorities suggested she leave him, but refused to intervene.

When she did finally leave him, he managed to track her down, and threatened to kill her.

Finally, she fled to the United States where she sought asylum. Her court hearing set the precedent for asylum claims based on the experience of domestic violence — a decision which Sessions has now overturned.

“What this decision does is yank us all back to the Dark Ages of human rights and women’s human rights.”  — Karen Musalo, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law

Claims for asylum based on gang violence or domestic assault are evaluated by the “credible fear” standard, which, obviously, is a highly subjective standard that is clearly easily manipulated in order to fit the government’s agenda.

Under this administration’s interpretation of the standard, it’s apparent that the fears of women, children, and those threatened by rampant gang violence, just aren’t enough.

Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.

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