Orders plaintiffs originally denied refugee benefits to return to the US and have their cases reheard
Wednesday, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan (the same judge presiding over former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s sentencing) ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a complaint brought by the ACLU against the Justice Department’s guidance on the application of asylum benefits.
The guidance issued by then Attorney General Sessions sought to curb the overuse of “credible fear claims” test.
Fox News has more:
The revised rules were announced by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the summer. The new policy made it harder for asylum seekers to make “credible fear claims” of domestic or gang-related violence back home, in expedited removal immigration proceedings.
“The vast majority of the current asylum claims are not valid,” Sessions said in June.
Federal officials said they made changes to prevent fraud within the asylum system, though the policy also enabled speedy deportations that were later challenged.
A group of asylum seekers, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the Trump administration in federal court.
The Justice Department responded to the ruling (from Fox News):
In response to the decision, Justice Department spokesman Steven Stafford said: “Under the laws passed by Congress, asylum is only for those who have a legitimate fear of persecution on the basis of their race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Attorney General Sessions’ ruling in Matter of A-B- was about following that requirement. We are reviewing our options with regard to this ruling, and we will continue to restore the rule of law in our immigration system.”
As did the ACLU:
“This ruling is a defeat for the Trump administration’s all-out assault on the rights of asylum seekers,” Jennifer Chang Newell, managing attorney of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case, said in a statement Wednesday. “The government’s attempt to obliterate asylum protections is unlawful and inconsistent with our country’s longstanding commitment to provide protection to immigrants fleeing for their lives.”
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