In order for a refugee to qualify for asylum in the United States, the refugee must show that they have:

  • A reasonable fear
  • Of future persecution
  • On account of
  • Race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a social group


Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled today, June 11, 2018, that victims of domestic and gang violence will not qualify for Asylum in the United States. This overturns the 2006 decision of the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals that said a battered woman from El Salvador was eligible for asylum under federal law.


27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018) Interim Decision #3929

News Link:

Washington Post Sessions: Victims of domestic, gang violence ‘generally’ won’t qualify for asylum

New York Post US won’t give asylum to victims of gangs, domestic abuse

ABA Journal Sessions bars most asylum claims for immigrants fleeing domestic violence, gang violence


It was hard enough for Asylum seekers to win their cases in the immigration court with language barriers, legal barriers, financial and social hardships stacked against them. The one area of the law that seemed a bit open to helping out Asylum seekers was the “membership in a social group”. It allowed for all those who were escaping violence at home and in their country to get a new life here in the United States. This decision all but crushes that dream. Gang violence was never going to be a qualified “membership in a social group” definition, but domestic violence was and should be. Without such the women who fled their country to preserve their life will be sent back to their abusers. This is a huge precedence in immigration law and the fact that it was not decided in a courtroom but by one man nothing less than injustice for immigrants.