(Matt Demlein, WRVA)

AG Herring Files Brief In Asylum Case

Wants Asylum For Those Avoiding Domestic and Gang Violence

September 28, 2018 - 4:40 pm

RICHMOND (Newsradiowrva.com) –  Attorney General Mark Herring has joined a group of 18 state attorneys general over Trump Administration policy regarding immigrants who seek asylum from domestic violence or gang terrorism in their home countries. In an amicus brief filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia,  Herring argues that the Trump Administration ignored decades of federal law and policy designed to protect asylum-seekers who are persecuted in their home countries because of their gender, ethnicity, or other key personal characteristics.

“Our country has always been a beacon of hope and a place of safety for those who are escaping violence and persecution at home,” said Attorney General Herring. “The Trump Administration continues to turn its back on refugees who are seeking asylum, while ignoring decades of federal policy designed to help these very people. I will continue to work with my colleagues to stand up for these refugees who are only trying to find a better life for themselves and their families.”

Herring joined the coalition, made up of 18 state attorneys general, to file an amicus brief today in Grace v. Sessions. The plaintiffs include a majority of women and children from Central America who sought asylum in the United States from domestic violence and violent persecution by gangs in their home countries. The plaintiffs argued, as past asylum-seekers have successfully claimed, that the governments in their home countries are unwilling or unable to protect them from such harm. U.S. law provides that immigrants may seek asylum in America “because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

However, in June, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a decision reversing the federal Board of Immigration Appeals’ grant of asylum to an El Salvadoran woman who was brutalized by her husband. The decision changed federal policy to state that, in general “claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum.” It also raised the standard that asylum applicants must meet when claiming persecution by a non-governmental actor.

The suit was filed in August.