U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein Calls on Attorney General Garland to Reverse Trump Administration Rules Restricting Asylum Eligibility for Victims of Domestic and Gang Violence

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Dianne Feinstein

May 15, 2021 – Washington – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to review the Trump administration’s decisions to restrict asylum seekers Victim of domestic violence and gang violence.

The Refugee Act of 1980 extended asylum protection to foreigners who feared returning to their home countries because of previous persecution or fear of persecution “because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. The Trump administration rejected an established precedent in restricting asylum for victims of gang and domestic violence.

“Because of these decisions, the United States is refusing humanitarian aid to asylum seekers fleeing from countries where 95 percent of sexual violence incidents are never investigated and where gang killings and extortion are common practices. This is inconsistent with our nation’s reputation as a safe haven for those fleeing the persecution. ” wrote Senator Feinstein.

“I ask you to overturn these decisions and bring our asylum system back into line with the law and the values ​​that inform it.” Feinstein added.

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

May 13, 2021

The Honorable Merrick B. Garland
Attorney General
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Garland:

I am also writing about two decisions made by Attorneys General Session and Barr during the Trump administration on the matter of AB-, Dec. 27, I&N. 316 (AG 2018) and matter of LEA-, 27 I & N Dec. 581 (AG 2019) than other opinions based on these decisions. Enclosed are copies of letters I sent to attorneys general regarding these rulings, which I believe ignored precedents by removing the right to asylum for many victims of domestic violence and gang violence. I am sure you share my belief that anyone challenged by Congress on asylum should be protected by the law.

As a result of these decisions, the United States has refused humanitarian aid to asylum seekers fleeing from countries where 95 percent of sexual violence incidents are never investigated and where gang killings and extortion are common practices. This is inconsistent with our nation’s reputation as a safe haven for those fleeing the persecution.

The Refugee Act of 1980 grants asylum to foreigners who are unwilling or unable to return to their country of origin due to previous persecution or fear of persecution “because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. “8 USC §§ 1101 (a) (42) (A), 1158 (b) (1) (A). The Trump administration rejected an established precedent when it concluded that victims of domestic violence or gang violence ignored by their home countries could not seek asylum protection.

Accordingly, in your review of President Biden’s “Priority Decisions … on Deciding Asylum Applications” cited by President Biden in Regulation No. 14.010, I would ask you to consider the matter of AB-, the matter of LEA- and subsequent opinions based on these decisions and bring our asylum system back into line with the law and the values ​​that inform it. This approach has been used in the past to provide timely remedial action in anticipation of formal rules being laid down.

Thank you for your quick attention on this matter.

With best regards,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator
Source: Senator Dianne Feinstein