The Trump Administration Will Stop Granting Asylum to Victims of Gang Violence & Domestic Abuse

The Los Angeles Times reported that attorney general Jeff Sessions announced a change in asylum law that will have a huge impact on immigrants, especially women: the Trump administration will no longer grant asylum protections for victims of gang violence and domestic abuse.

According to CNN, Sessions said in a speech to immigration judges that "asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems, even all serious problems, that people face every day all over the world.” He also claimed that this move “restores sound principles of asylum and long standing principles of immigration law."

However, this announcement actually overturns the precedent, in which women who face domestic abuse were qualified to receive asylum. CNN also noted that immigration judges were not told of the decision before the public, but instead found out at the same time, making them feel unsettled about the lack of information they had.

In his speech, Sessions also said, “The American people have spoken. They have spoken in our laws and they have spoken in our elections. They want a safe, secure border and a lawful system of immigration that actually works and serves the national interest.”

This certainly isn’t the case for all Americans—The Los Angeles Times noted that immigration advocates will likely fight this new decision, as it means many women will be kept out of the country and kept in dangerous and possibly life-threatening situations. Reuters reported last year that the amount of women fleeing Central America for protection from gang violence and domestic abuse is enough to make it a refugee crisis and that between 2014 and 2015, asylum applications in Mexico increased by 156 percent.

The Trump administration’s unwillingness to budge on immigration law is no doubt terrifying for people attempting to start a new life in America, especially those that face daily violence at home. It’s too soon to tell yet how many people this decision will impact, but it could force women back into dangerous situations nobody deserves to be stuck in.