Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Trump Administration Moves To Reshape Who Qualifies For Asylum

The Trump administration is taking steps to limit who gets asylum in the United States, and immigration lawyers are warning that thousands of people who fled violence and persecution in their home countries could be turned away.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is using his authority to reshape the law on who qualifies for asylum, and whether they get a hearing in court. Sessions has intervened in two cases that could have big implications for people who come to the U.S. and seek asylum.

This comes as the number of applications for asylum has risen sharply in recent years. Sessions has been trying to eliminate what he has called "rampant fraud and abuse" in those applications, and to cut into a massive backlog of immigration cases.

But immigrant rights advocates fear that legitimate asylum-seekers, including victims of domestic violence, could be denied sanctuary here.

"They are amongst the most vulnerable people in our society," said Jeremy McKinney, an immigration lawyer in North Carolina and secretary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "To have their rights curtailed so that the system moves faster I think should be considered a moral outrage."

To Attorney General Sessions, the outrage is that immigrants are gumming up the courts with false claims.

"The system is being gamed, there's no doubt about it," Sessions said in October of last year, in a speech to the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Virginia. Back then, he was asking Congress to tighten asylum rules. Last week, he acted on this own. - More, NPR

Trump Administration Moves To Reshape Who Qualifies For Asylum


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