DOJ issues tougher guidelines for asylum claims

DOJ: Victims of domestic abuse, gang violence not eligible

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Overshadowed by Monday’s historic summit in Singapore between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, was the speech by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing tougher guidelines excluding domestic abuse and gang violence as grounds for asylum.

Sessions told the National Association of Immigration Judges, “Asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems, even all serious problems, that people face every day all over the world.”

Yet those protections have been in place for at least 15 years, said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, a local immigration attorney.

He calls the latest guidelines are “more propaganda by this administration to scare people into thinking we’ve got to bar the door, and paint everyone as being some type of criminal or some type of undesirable person whose coming to the U.S.”

He said some of his clients are women with children who escaped abusive situations and had no other choice.

Rodriguez said authorities and even family members back home believe, “That’s your husband. That’s your partner. He can do what he wants. You’re subject to his authority.”

He said he doesn’t believe that’s what immigration law should be about.

Rodriguez also cited recent examples of undocumented immigrants who were deported and then were killed by the murderous gangs they were trying to escape.

He said the Attorney General can expect his new guidelines will be challenged in court.

“If the administration thought they were simply going to be able with one broad stroke, end all these cases, I think they’re mistaken,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is among immigration attorneys from across the country gathering in San Francisco for their annual conference over the next two days. It’s expected they’ll have a lot to discuss this year ranging from separation of families at the border, the massive backlog in immigration courts, and the new amnesty guidelines.

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