On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan overturned a June 11 decision that made domestic violence victims no longer eligible to apply for asylum. The June decision overturns the precedent set during the Obama administration that allowed more women to claim credible fears of domestic abuse or gang violence, and will make it harder for such arguments to prevail in immigration courts. Asylum seekers can make claims that they suffered persecution related to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or their particular social group, broadly considered to include people who share a common characteristic that endangers them and whose governments will not protect them. To learn more about the asylum program, please click here. To learn more about other forms of humanitarian relief, please click here.
Judge Sullivan ruled that blocking alleged victims from obtaining credible fear of returning to their home country violates federal immigration law. Sullivan called the new standards “arbitrary” and “capricious,” and ruled that they violated federal regulatory law in addition to immigration statutes. This decision will prevent the Trump administration from rapidly deporting these asylum seekers, giving them an opportunity to apply for the credible fear test and argue their case. The Justice Department has already filed a motion to stay a broad application of the ruling while it decides whether to appeal the order.
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