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Dems demand Sessions restore asylum for victims of violence

Dems demand Sessions restore asylum for victims of violence
© Anna Moneymaker

More than 100 House Democrats signed a letter this week urging Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE to reverse his decision to stop granting asylum to victims of gang violence and domestic abuse.

Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Mark PocanMark William PocanAtheist group argues in court for prayer rights on House floor Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Lawmakers seeking intel on alleged Saudi plot against journalist MORE (D-Wis.), Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroHealth advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Overnight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal Congress reaches deal to fund government through Dec. 7, preventing shutdown MORE (D-Conn.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.) led the call for Sessions to overturn his decision, writing that they are “deeply alarmed and outraged.”

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“We are deeply alarmed and outraged over a series of actions taken by you, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security that undermine or curtail the ability of migrants lawfully requesting asylum in the United States to present their claims,” they wrote.

Sessions announced in June that the Trump administration would no longer grant asylum to victims of gang violence and domestic abuse.

“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,” he said at the time.

Additionally, the Trump administration last week took a step toward pulling out of a court agreement limiting the government’s ability to hold children seeking asylum in detention centers, The Washington Post reported.

DeLauro said in a statement on Thursday that the Trump administration’s “attack on asylum seekers is cruel and un-American.”

“These restrictions are shamefully designed to discourage people who face legitimate danger from seeking sanctuary and security in our country,” she said. “This nation must remain a haven for those who seek to escape violence and persecution.”