Domestic and Gang Violence Victims Become Ineligible for Asylum

On June 11, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered U.S. immigration courts to stop granting asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence. This ruling has already had and will continue to have a tremendous impact on women and children specifically from Central American countries who are fleeing violence. In order to grasp the severity of the ruling, it is essential to first examine the countries with the largest sources of asylum seekers and understand what the violence they are enduring looks like. The conditions in these countries and their impact on individuals illustrate that domestic and gang violence victims are indeed a social group, a characteristic of persecution, and thus, qualify for asylum. Policymakers must recognize this and strive to reverse the recent ruling in order to protect children from being deported back to dangerous regions. Even with the ruling, domestic and gang violence victims still have an opportunity to gain asylum, however, it has become significantly more difficult. The conditions of asylum have not changed, so the fight for these victims must continue.