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CHC Chair & Organizations Condemn Trump Administration Barring Asylum for Most Victims of Domestic & Gang Violence

Jun 12, 2018
Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) and several advocacy organizations released the following statements in reaction to the Trump Administration’s decision to bar asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence.
“The horrific announcement by the Trump Administration deprives some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic and gang violence from seeking protections from beatings, rape and even death.  It is shameful that the most powerful nation on earth has chosen to turn its back on these desperate victims. This cruel policy change betrays our values, chips away at our shared humanity and is a direct assault on girls, boys, mothers, and fathers lawfully seeking asylum.
“As if enacting policy that pries children from their mothers and fathers was not abhorrent enough, the administration’s latest policy change means that girls and women fleeing the horrors of gender-based violence and children fleeing gang violence will be deported back to danger or even death.
“I condemn the Trump administration’s cruel nativist agenda that has been on full display for the world. Our country must come together to reject these inhumane actions and live up to our ideals as a nation of compassion, refuge and freedom.”
Eleanor Acer, Senior Director, Refugee Protection, Human Rights First:
“At a time when thousands of women and children are fleeing unspeakable violence, today's decision may be a death sentence; without protection in the United States, these individuals will be left in the direst of circumstances. This is the latest in a long line of attacks this administration has made on refugees. Jeff Sessions is merely a bully picking on the most vulnerable.
“With the stroke of his pen, Attorney General Sessions is attempting to unilaterally rewrite U.S. asylum law and block many people fleeing domestic violence and other persecution from receiving refugee protection in this country. Furthermore, his decision essentially dismisses persecution by non-state actors as 'private violence,' and claims the United States has no obligation to help these victims.
“While the Attorney General claimed earlier today that he was restoring 'sounds principles of asylum and long-standing principles of immigration law,' in reality he is trying to destroy and subvert U.S. asylum and immigration law and evades U.S. refugee protection treaty obligations.”
Grace Huang, Policy Director, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence:
“We are devastated that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has surrendered the role of the United States as a leader in addressing gender-based violence and a protector of human rights. In a single tragic decision, A.G. Sessions has upended a long-standing precedent that has protected women and children fleeing domestic and gang violence. His decision will place thousands of victims of gender-based violence in harm’s way if not at risk of death. Because domestic violence perpetrators know that they can abuse with impunity when the government will not intervene to address the harm to victims, the AG’s wrong decision shows his lack of understanding of the governmental role in the persecution of gender-based violence victims.”
Archi Pyati, Chief of Policy, Tahirih Justice Center:
“The Tahirih Justice Center condemns the decision by the Attorney General to slam the door on women fleeing gender-based violence. The decision is poorly reasoned, makes broad generalizations with no basis in fact, and demonstrates a woeful misunderstanding of the social conditions that allow domestic violence to flourish with impunity. As a result, women and children will now be sent back to further persecution and even death. This is truly a dark day in American history.”