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Sessions Tells Immigration Judges to Deny Asylum to Most Victims of Domestic Abuse, Others

National Council of Jewish Women
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Sessions Tells Immigration Judges to Deny Asylum to Most Victims of Domestic Abuse, Others

June 11, 2018, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today expressed deep dismay at the decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse long standing policy allowing many victims of domestic violence to be granted asylum in the United States. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:

“Today’s action by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, while not unexpected, will have a severe and adverse impact on women living now in the US with asylum status. Sessions has upended a long process within the Justice Department that had established legal precedent for granting sanctuary to those who could prove themselves persecuted by ‘private actors,’ such as intimate partners, whose violence was ignored by their home countries.“Session wrote that ‘Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum….The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.’

“The ruling also has ominous implications for victims of not only domestic violence, but of gang violence, religious persecution, and persecution as LGBTQ individuals. Those now in detention awaiting action on such claims, and even those who have been granted relief, can now be sent back to their home countries where they will be in fear for their lives.

“The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) joined with nine other organizations on an amicus brief arguing that Sessions should maintain asylum relief for those suffering from religious persecution inflicted by private, non-state actors. To deny relief to victims who come from lawless states that will not protect them would surely contradict our fundamental American commitment to protect those terrorized for their religious convictions.

“NCJW will support any further appeal of this egregious new policy.”

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.

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