ACLU Sues Jeff Sessions For Denying Asylum To Victims Of Domestic Or Gang Violence

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The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, alleging the “evisceration of asylum protections” in refusing to consider domestic and gang violence as worthy criteria for granting asylum.

A group made up of mostly women and children is challenging Trump administration policies that “unlawfully deprive them of their right to seek humanitarian protection.” Specifically, the implementation of “expedited removal” policies has meant that most domestic and gang violence asylum claims get denied, a decision Sessions made when ruling on an individual asylum case, Matter of A-B, in June.

“The Trump administration’s effort to eliminate that protection betrays our values and flouts our laws,” the ACLU said in a statement. “The courts must step in to stop it.”

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“Our nation’s immigration laws provide for asylum to be granted to individuals who have been persecuted, or who have a well-founded fear of persecution, on account of their membership in a ‘particular social group,’ but most victims of personal crimes do not fit this definition — no matter how vile and reprehensible the crime perpetrated against them,” a DOJ spokesman told Politico in defense of its policy. “The Department of Justice remains committed to reducing violence against women and enforcing laws against domestic violence, both in the United States and around the world.”

Sessions’ asylum decision came after the administration rolled out its zero tolerance policy, detaining migrants at the border and separating thousands of children from their parents. Almost 600 migrant children have yet to be reunited with their parents even weeks after the deadline has elapsed.

The ACLU has also sued the Trump administration in an attempt to halt the family separations.

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Undocumented immigrants who turned themselves in after crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. await processing near McAllen, Texas, on April 2, 2018.
Undocumented immigrants who turned themselves in after crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. await processing near McAllen, Texas, on April 2, 2018.
Families who crossed the border near McAllen, Texas, on May 9, 2018.
Families who crossed the border near McAllen, Texas, on May 9, 2018.
A U.S. Border Patrol spotlight shines on a mother and son from Honduras on June 12, 2018, in McAllen, Texas.
A U.S. Border Patrol spotlight shines on a mother and son from Honduras on June 12, 2018, in McAllen, Texas.
Central Americans seeking asylum wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take them into custody on June 12, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
Central Americans seeking asylum wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take them into custody on June 12, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
A Honduran mother stands with her family at the U.S.-Mexico border fence on Feb. 22, 2018, near Penitas, Texas.
A Honduran mother stands with her family at the U.S.-Mexico border fence on Feb. 22, 2018, near Penitas, Texas.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take a Central American family into custody on June 12, 2018 near McAllen, Texas.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take a Central American family into custody on June 12, 2018 near McAllen, Texas.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take a father and son from Honduras into custody near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018, near Mission, Texas.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take a father and son from Honduras into custody near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018, near Mission, Texas.
A Central American family waits to be taken into custody on June 12, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
A Central American family waits to be taken into custody on June 12, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
Central American migrants wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take people into custody on June 12, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
Central American migrants wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take people into custody on June 12, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
Two women and a child who crossed the border on Feb. 22, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
Two women and a child who crossed the border on Feb. 22, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
A Honduran child who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her family on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
A Honduran child who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her family on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take Central American immigrants, including this young child, into custody on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take Central American immigrants, including this young child, into custody on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
A Honduran woman and child on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
A Honduran woman and child on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent checks birth certificates while taking Central American immigrants into detention on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent checks birth certificates while taking Central American immigrants into detention on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
Adults and children await processing near McAllen, Texas, on April 2, 2018.
Adults and children await processing near McAllen, Texas, on April 2, 2018.
Guatemalan immigrant families turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol near McAllen, Texas, on May 8, 2018.
Guatemalan immigrant families turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol near McAllen, Texas, on May 8, 2018.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take Central American immigrants into custody on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take Central American immigrants into custody on Jan. 4, 2017, near McAllen, Texas.

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