Sessions has spoken: Domestic abuse, gang violence, police failure to protect no longer grounds for asylum.


I am on vacation. This is not a blog post: just a list of today’s awfulness.

No asylum allowed

Sessions says domestic and gang violence are not grounds for asylum. (New York Times, 6/11/18)

“[Sessions] reversed an immigration appeals court ruling that granted it to a Salvadoran woman who said she had been sexually, emotionally and physically abused by her husband.….

“The Board of Immigration Appeals found in 2016 that the woman in the case — named A-B-, for her initials — was part of what the asylum system refers to as a “particular social group” because women in El Salvador are often unable to leave violent relationships and their government has not been able to protect them. She therefore qualified for asylum.”

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:

“This narrow interpretation asylum law is a deliberate decision to turn our backs on survivors of domestic abuse and gang violence.

“The United States and this administration are able to afford relief to these individuals under the existing asylum law, but instead are choosing to send them back to countries where their governments and law enforcement cannot protect them.

“Much like the Justice Department’s policy of ripping children from their parents, sending women back to their abusers will not make our nation safer or stronger.”

Jess Morales Rocketto, Chair of the We Belong Together campaign and Political Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, issued the following statement:

“The Trump administration just handed a death sentence to thousands of women and families fleeing domestic and gang violence by barring them from accessing asylum in the U.S. Trump, Sessions, and the Trump Administration jeopardize the safety of the women they are ignoring who need help. This administration is no better than neighbors who ignore cries and pleas from a woman being assaulted next door. Our country cannot lock the door and draw the shades on women. Nothing this administration does is about our nation’s security; it’s about advancing Trump’s anti-women and anti-immigrant agendas. Trump and Sessions will not rest until women are stripped of our rights and there are no immigrants left.”

Jeff Sessions just all but slammed the door on survivors of domestic violence and gang violence (Vox, 6/11/189

“Sessions referred the case to himself from the Board of Immigration Appeals, the quasi-appellate body of immigration courts run out of the Department of Justice, which means Sessions’s word is now law.

The ruling doesn’t flat-out say that an immigrant can’t be granted asylum on the basis of having faced domestic violence or gang violence in her home country. But it makes it clear that, to the federal government, suffering either of those things — or having a credible fear that you might suffer them if returned — isn’t enough to count as persecution and allow you to stay in the United States.”

St. Paul: A note of hope

For immigrant crime victims, St. Paul speeds visa process to push cooperation with police (Pioneer Press, 6/11/18) Noncitizens who are victims of specific types of crimes and who help law enforcement an ask U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a “U Visa.”

The St. Paul City Council held a public hearing last Wednesday on an effort to step up the pace for screening requests, while clarifying and standardizing the steps all parties must go through to get the “U Visa” application started….

“There’s been a marked change in recent months. From January through mid-April, the department approved 90 percent of “U Visa” confirmation requests, or 37 of 41 applications….

“John Keller, executive director of the St. Paul-based Immigrant Law Center, said that as much as a fourth of his center’s work is focused on U Visas, and residents of St. Paul and Minneapolis are two of the largest sources of applications….

““There are consistent reports of a fear of reporting crime to law enforcement, and a fear that has increased, unfortunately, under the current administration,” Keller said. “The fear is not without merit.”

Watching the children

Using kids as pawns to deter border crossings is inhumane (Star Tribune, 6/11/18)

“The brutal separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border is an abomination for which there is no morally acceptable justification. It is a practice that simply must stop.”


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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