Jeff Sessions’ Decision: Asylum v. VAWA

Jeff Sessions’ Decision: Asylum v. VAWA

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, through his authority to issue decisions that serve as precedents to the country’s immigration judges, ended the possibility of seeking asylum for victims of gang violence and domestic violence outside the United States at the hands of individuals and not the government’s.  Likewise, the decision of the Attorney General indicates that this type of cases will be accepted only when it is demonstrated that: the government condoned these private actions or that there is an inability of the authorities to protect the victim in their country of origin.

To understand this decision, we must bear in mind that political asylum is granted to people who are trying to escape persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution. The logic of the Attorney General is that political asylum should not shelter actions of individual (private persons) but actions of the government of the country of origin and of which the victim is trying to escape.

This decision of the Attorney General does not mean that the victims cannot request asylum in the United States. It means that the standard for evaluating cases has changed. Even so, political asylum continues to be guaranteed by the law of the Union and is an option for those who feel a well-founded fear of being persecuted or have suffered persecution from their government because of his/her political opinion, race, religious belief, nationality or being a member of a particular social group.

This decision by the Attorney General is not related to the humanitarian visas or Violence Against Woman Act of 1994 (VAWA). This law was thought to protect victims of violence and from it different migratory benefits arise, such as VAWA cases where the victim of domestic violence is married or is the son / daughter of an American citizen or permanent legal resident.

Currently, cases based on VAWA are being accepted and processed by the immigration service and have not been affected by the decision of the Attorney General Sessions.

So we must know what the difference between these two benefits is and how the Attorney General’s decision affects the chances of potential asylum seekers. If you are a victim of domestic violence or physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse by your spouse please seek help and consult with an immigration attorney.


Disclaimer: The information found on this website is intended to be general information; it is not legal advice. Specific legal advice can only be given by a licensed professional with full knowledge of all the facts and circumstances of your particular situation.

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