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This article was originally published on September 28, 2018.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 28, 2018

In the beginning of August, a federal lawsuit, Grace v. Sessions, was filed challenging the Attorney General’s new policies announced in Matter of A-B-, which called on asylum officers to “generally” deny claims from immigrants fleeing from gang and domestic violence. The plaintiffs include 12 women and children who have experienced senseless trauma and violence, and who the Administration was set to deport based on the new policies. The Tahirih Justice Center stands with these women and filed an amicus brief with several partner organizations today, arguing that the Attorney General’s decision in Matter of A-B- was arbitrary, unreasoned, and fails to take into account the complex nature of domestic violence.

“The Attorney General’s decision tries to exclude survivors of domestic violence from the protection our country’s laws offer,” said Julie M. Carpenter, Senior Litigation Counsel at Tahirih and one of the authors of this brief, along with pro bono parter McDermott, Will, and Emery.

“But anyone who can show a credible fear of persecution if they are returned to their home country is entitled to their day in court, and Administration is attempting to strip that right away.”

This decision cuts at our core mission, defies fundamental principles of justice, and contradicts who we are as a nation. The brief urges the Court to require the government to “continue to recognize long-established protections for those victims of gender-based and domestic violence who meet the requirements for asylum.”

The brief criticizes the vague language of the decision, as well as the lack of guidance on what kind of claims can qualify for asylum.

“Decisions about who can seek asylum cannot be arbitrary,” stated Carpenter. “The Attorney General’s new policies are based on unsubstantiated generalities as opposed to an analysis of relevant facts.”

These 12 women and children are only representatives of the scores of survivors of violence who will be barred from refuge if these policies are not reversed. We cannot send those who have courageously escaped their abusers back to a death sentence.

Archi Pyati, Chief of Policy, is available for comment on this topic. Please contact tstewart@mrss.com to arrange an interview. 

About the Tahirih Justice Center
The Tahirih Justice Center is the largest national direct service and policy advocacy organization focused on assisting immigrant women and girls fleeing violence. Tahirih will continue to monitor policy shifts that impact women and girls fleeing violence and advocate for the United States to honor its legal obligations to protect those fleeing human rights abuses.