Acquiring Asylum Gets Harder for Houston's ImmigrantsTop Stories

June 13, 2018 07:32
Acquiring Asylum Gets Harder for Houston's Immigrants

(Image source from: Houston Chronicle)

Attorney General of the United States Jefferson Sessions overruled a Board of Immigration Appeals judgment that given asylum to victims of domestic abuse from Guatemala.

The determination narrows the situations that make for a fetching asylum case.

In the written decision, Attorney General Sessions said, "I understand that many victims of domestic violence may seek to flee from their home countries to extricate themselves from a dire situation or to give themselves the opportunity for a better life. But the 'asylum statute is not a general hardship statute.'"

The overruling will particularly impact victims of domestic abuse said Geoffrey Hoffman, Director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Houston Law Center.

"Going forward people who are going to try to ask for asylum on the basis of being abused by a domestic abuser are going to have a very difficult time to prove those claims. It will have a very, very dire effect on asylum applicants across the board or at least someone who has a private actor who is the persecutor," said Hoffman.

He further said that tens of thousands of cases nationwide could be affected, including the asylum cases of families currently being separated at the border. However, the legal battle isn't over.

He suspects session's overruling will possibly be challenged in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and could make it to the Supreme Court.

As of now, the decision hits hard in Houston particularly, where asylum is rarely acknowledged in local courts.

Between 2012 and 2017, immigration judges in Houston contradicted asylum in 87.1 percent of their cases.

By Sowmya Sangam

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