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HIAS Statement on Attorney General Sessions Asylum Ruling

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SILVER SPRING, Md.—Today, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed a ruling in a critical asylum case known as "Matter of A.B.-.” The decision is expected to make it nearly impossible for domestic violence survivors who cannot live safely in their home countries to be granted asylum in the United States.  

Commenting on the significance of the ruling, HIAS Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Melanie Nezer issued the following statement:

“The opportunity for people fleeing persecution to seek asylum in the United States is not discretionary. The right to seek asylum has been enshrined in international and U.S. law for decades. This decision will make it much more difficult for victims of extreme domestic violence, who are not protected by their governments and have nowhere else to turn, to find safety. This includes many HIAS clients. HIAS and our supporters in the American Jewish community will continue to advocate for a return to a fair, humane asylum system.”

Women who are unable to leave abusive relationships have been eligible for asylum in the United States since 2014, when a case known as Matter of A-R-C-G- became precedential. Today’s ruling rolls back these safeguards for victims of domestic violence who have no recourse with the governments in their home countries, and sends a message that these women no longer deserve protection.

In April, HIAS joined the legal fight against the Administration’s efforts to narrow established asylum grounds that apply to domestic violence victims, as well as victims of religious persecution perpetrated by private actors. Together with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, National Council of Jewish Women, World Relief and several other organizations, HIAS filed an amicus brief to the Department of Justice.

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Asylum