Attorney General Jeff Sessions issues new rules on asylum seekers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued new rules regarding asylum seekers Monday. Sessions said that most victims of gang violence and domestic abuse will not qualify for asylum.


The attorney general's decision could impact thousands of asylum seekers and has sweeping implications for US immigration courts.

"Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum," Sessions said in a ruling.

"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 added.

Sessions has claimed asylum seekers are "gaming" the US immigration system, and this move is seemingly designed to prevent that. During a speech earlier in the day, Sessions said asylum was "was never meant to alleviate all problems— even all serious problems— that people face every day all over the world."

The attorney general said during his speech his impending decision would restore "sound principles of asylum and long standing principles of immigration law." Sessions also said it was the "duty" of judges to follow his orders and carry out his interpretation of the law.

As a consequence of this move, experts have warned any number of asylum seekers could be deported from the US and back into potentially dangerous situations.

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