Posted on June 17, 2021

Justice Dept. Ends a Trump Policy That Limited Asylum for Survivors of Gang Violence and Domestic Abuse

Katie Benner, New York Times, June 16, 2021

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland reversed on Wednesday Trump-era immigration rulings that had made it all but impossible for people to seek asylum in the United States over credible fears of domestic abuse or gang violence, marking one of the Justice Department’s most significant breaks with the previous administration.


The decisions — applicable to all cases in the system, including appeals — will affect tens of thousands of migrants. Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing gang extortion and recruitment and women fleeing domestic abuse have arrived in the United States since 2013, and many cases are still being adjudicated, given an enormous backlog in immigration courts.


The move is one of the Justice Department’s most significant reversals of a Trump-era policy. {snip}

Proponents of asylum seekers cheered Mr. Garland’s latest reversal.

“We’re really heartened by this decision,” said Karen Musalo, a lawyer representing one of the asylum seekers and a professor at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. “It restores the possibility of protection to those whose very lives are in the balance.”