from Women Around the World and Women and Foreign Policy Program

Sessions’ Draconian Asylum Decision: The U.S. Turns Its Back on Domestic Violence Victims

Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks on immigration enforcement during the Sheriff's Coalition Annual Spring Meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S, April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Sessions’ ruling in Matter of A-B- not only blocks a pathway to safety for domestic violence victims, it also undermines the United States’ reputation as one of the few true beacons of hope and liberty in the world and a country bent on preventing and responding to violence against women. 

June 15, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks on immigration enforcement during the Sheriff's Coalition Annual Spring Meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S, April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
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On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a radical decision that will undoubtedly result in death or significant harm to some of the world’s most vulnerable women: victims of domestic violence who live in countries that do not, or cannot, protect them from their abusive partners. Over the past two decades, the United States has provided a safe haven to many of these women through its asylum laws. In a heartless move that flouts established U.S. law and international human rights standards, Sessions found that a domestic violence victim from El Salvador—perhaps the most dangerous country on earth in which to be a woman—would not qualify for asylum, even though her own country had utterly failed to protect her.

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