The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Trump administration on Tuesday over the federal government’s decision to toughen asylum criteria, POLITICO reports.
The United States will no longer recognize claims of domestic and gang violence as reason for seeking asylum.
Calling these “expedited removal” policies, the ACLU claims this is just another way for the Trump administration to further strengthen its border policy.
“This is a naked attempt by the Trump administration to eviscerate our country’s asylum protections,” a lawyer with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project said in a statement. “It’s clear the administration’s goal is to deny and deport as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” wrote Jennifer Chang.
The lawsuit names Attorney General Jeff Sessions and was filed in a Washington D.C. courthouse in partnership with the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.
The policy change dates back to June when Sessions rejected Obama-era arguments that victims of alleged domestic violence should be granted asylum. The attorney general suggested that individual criminal offenses did not constitute being part of a “particular social group” — which is one of the accepted criteria.
Along with that, authorities consider granting asylum if a candidate can demonstrate that their lives are in danger in their country of origin due to their race, religion, nationality, politics or must currently prove they have credible fear — based on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion — in their home country.