US rolls back Trump-era asylum restrictions for survivors of violence | Migration news

Trump-era restrictions made it more difficult for asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence or gangs to obtain protection in the United States.

The Biden administration repealed Trump-era policies that prevented asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence or gangs from obtaining protection in the United States, a move that has been hailed by migration advocates as an important step forward.

In a three-page legal opinion, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Wednesday that the broad language in decisions put in place under the administration of former President Donald Trump “threatens to create confusion and to discourage the scrutiny of asylum claims on a case-by-case basis ”.

Garland has released a new policy that may make it easier for asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence and gangs to earn their humanitarian protection cases.

“The importance of this cannot be overstated,” said Kate Melloy Goettel, legal director of litigation at the American Immigration Council. “It was one of the worst anti-asylum decisions under the Trump era, and it’s a really important first step in fixing it.”

President Joe Biden has vowed to pursue a more “humane” immigration system than his predecessor, which adopted a series of anti-immigration policies, including an entry ban for citizens of several Muslim-majority countries and severe restrictions on the southern border with Mexico.

The Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS) at UC Hastings College of the Law said in a statement Wednesday that the Trump-led US Department of Justice had issued unprecedented rulings that had effectively “stacked the game against asylum seekers”.

The restrictions have disproportionately harmed women, children and LGBTQ + people, while also leading to the deportation of people to the same countries they had fled, the center said.

“These rulings were legally flawed and created unnecessary confusion in the decision-making process, leading judges to wrongly deny protection by prejudging cases, rather than providing each case with a fair consideration of its own facts,” its statement said. .

The CGRS welcomed Garland’s announcement, saying it “marks huge progress in the Biden administration’s efforts to rebuild our asylum system.”

Garland also separately on Wednesday overturned a ruling that limited asylum claims based on persecution due to family connections.

“Today’s announcement will help undo some of the damage caused by the Trump administration’s attacks on asylum, and we join our colleagues in calling on the Biden administration to step up and deepen its efforts to this regard, “Cody Wofsy, lawyer with the ACLU. Immigrants’ Rights Project, also stated in the CGRS statement.

Migration advocates have pushed Biden to do more to fulfill his pledge to rebuild asylum in the United States, including ending the use of a public health directive from the Trump era – invoked during the COVID-19 pandemic – which allows most asylum seekers to be turned away without their claims being heard.

But the US president has faced increased political pressure from Republicans and other critics as record number of asylum seekers arrive at the country’s border with Mexico in search of protection.

Biden, who has vowed to tackle the “root causes” of migration, tasked Vice President Kamala Harris with limiting arrivals. She visited Guatemala and Mexico this month and tells asylum seekers: “Don’t come.”

The comments drew widespread criticism from migration advocates, who said asylum is a right guaranteed under international law and urged the Biden administration to keep its promise to break with Trump’s policies.

Most asylum seekers arriving at the US border in recent months come from southern Mexico and the so-called “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, which are reeling from widespread violence. , socio-economic crises and devastating crisis. effects of recent storms.

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