Things That Matter

The US Government Is Trying To Restrict The Reasons People Can Seek Asylum, Starting With Domestic Violence

Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week overturned asylum protections for domestic violence and gang violence victims. This announcement could potentially prevent thousands of immigrants from getting protection in the United States. The ruling overturned a grant of asylum to a Salvadoran woman whose former husband raped and beat her for 15 years. Sessions told immigration judges that the ruling “restores sound principles of asylum and long-standing principles of immigration law.” This overturns a precedent set during the President Obama administration that allowed women to claim credible fears of domestic violence but now will make it tougher for such arguments to succeed in immigration courts.

The number of people claiming a credible fear of persecution jumped from 5,000 in 2009 to 94,000 in 2016.

To qualify for asylum, an individual must establish that they have a fear of persecution in their homeland based on their race, religion, nationality or political opinion. Few asylum seekers are usually granted full permanent entry into the United States. The process can take months or years while the refugee lives freely in the US while their case is taken up the courts.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says those seeking entry to the US are claiming asylum or refugee status on too broad terms.

“Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum,” Sessions wrote in a statement to judges. “The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes such as domestic violence or gang violence or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.”

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all people are allowed to seek refuge and asylum from persecution in their home countries.

Many on social media are angry at the ruling because it might set precedent on future immigration policies.

Monday’s ruling is the latest effort by the Trump administration to stop asylum protections for thousands of immigrants, particularly those fleeing rampant gang violence and high homicide rates in Central America.

The overturned policy means potentially thousands of victims of targeted violence will face tougher restrictions in the asylum request process.

Sessions said it’s still possible that crime victims could get asylum in the United States, but would have to pass a tougher test in the courts. This include showing that their country’s government is unable or unwilling to protect them and that they cannot safely relocate to another part of their country.


READ: Transgender Honduran Woman Died In ICE Custody, Weeks After Seeking Asylum

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Things That Matter

The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Texas is seeing an unprecedented weather crisis as much of the state is plunged into bitterly cold conditions. But that hasn’t stopped many migrants and refugees from attempting to cross into the U.S. for protection.

Many migrants cross the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo en Mexico) between Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Crossing the Rio Grande is always a dangerous undertaking but now, thanks to the freezing weather, it’s an especially perilous journey and it’s claimed the life of another child.

An 8-year-old boy has drowned while crossing the river with his family.

Authorities have reported that an 8-year-old Honduran boy has become the latest victim in a string of drownings at the Rio Grande, between the the U.S. and Mexico. Despite the unprecedented weather, migrants continue to attempt to cross the dangerous river to reach the U.S.

The child was with his family attempting to cross the river when he drowned on Wednesday, just as Texas was gripped by Arctic conditions which have killed more than 30 people and left millions in Mexico and Texas without power, water and food. The boy’s parents and sister apparently made it to the U.S., but were returned to Mexico by U.S. Border Patrol.

According to Mexican immigration officials, the boy “couldn’t withstand the pounding water, which covered him and kept him submerged for several meters”. His body was recovered but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Rio Grande is notoriously dangerous for people attempting to cross the border.

The journey across the Rio Grande has always been a perilous one, with hundreds of people, many of whom could not swim, having drowned over the years after being caught by the deceptively deep waters and strong current.

Add in the current winter storm currently blanketing the entire state of Texas, has produced significant snow and prolonged freezing temperatures, has made the crossing even more dangerous.

In fact, earlier in the week, the river had claimed another victim. A woman from Venezuela died trying to cross the river in the same area after getting trapped in below-freezing currents. Three others suffered hypothermia: one was treated by the Red Cross in Mexico, while the other two made it the US border.

Drownings are just one of the dangers migrants face.

Apart from the potential for drownings, migrants face a wide range of dangerous while attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S. In late January, 19 bodies were found shot and burned in a vehicle near the town of Camargo, also across the border from Texas.

There’s also the threat of violence from drug cartels and smugglers, corrupt officials, and other extreme elements, such as heat during the summer.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com