On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new plan concerning domestic abuse or gang violence victim’s asylum seekers hoping to gain entry into the United States. Sessions’ new plan, which is suspected to have a broad effect on the migration flow coming from South and Central America, makes it nearly impossible for these immigrants to gain access to America.
Not only does this new motion say a lot about the new immigration policies, but this also speaks wonders on the prioritization, or lack thereof, for domestic violence in the United States government.
The new motion set by Sessions goes against the motion previously instated during the Obama administration. Under the previous laws, it was possible for women to seek asylum if they had substantial evidence of domestic abuse that would deem it unsafe for them to return to their previous home.
This regulation also no longer protects gang violence related to asylum seekers. In the past, President Trump expressed his concern about violent gang members entering the United States seeking asylum, but there is no data against said gang members to back up his worries. This has also forced many Central American asylum seekers to camp out along the United States and Mexico border after fleeing dangerous zones dominated by violent gangs.
Unfortunately, Sessions’ new court ruling backtracks against all of the progress made for domestic violence survivors and victims in the past years. As Karen Musalo, a defense attorney and director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law told the New York Times, “What this decision does is yank us all back to the Dark Ages of Human rights and the conceptualization of it.”
In the past, domestic violence cases faced heavy stereotypes. The victims were considered “weak” and cases were often seen as not a big deal. After years of fighting against these stereotypes, gaining awareness and helping many victims escape their situations, Sessions has completely backtracked this progress.
Domestic violence is a huge problem across the world, and this decision minimizes the issue and gives off the impression that domestic violence is not a priority for the United States’ government. Instead of supporting the victims and providing awareness, Sessions is doing the opposite, and the stricter immigration laws that are currently being implemented are only hurting citizens.
If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, know that you are not alone and please seek help here: http://www.thehotline.org/