[Atlanta, GA, Wednesday, June 13, 2018] On Monday June 11th, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued an opinion on Matter of A-B which overturned Matter of A-R-C-G, a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) case allowing victims of domestic violence to seek asylum protection in the United States. Additionally, the Attorney General’s opinion concluded that victims of domestic violence or gang violence would generally not qualify for asylum based on violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors. Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN) is troubled by this position and is concerned about its impact and repercussions to other protected groups under asylum law.

GAIN helps immigrants seeking asylum and protection from domestic violence. Since the BIA’s ruling on Matter of A-R-C-G in 2014, victims of domestic violence who have not been protected by their governments have been able to apply for asylum in the U.S., a crucial reprieve from the abuse they face in their country of origin. In light of this opinion from Attorney General Sessions, we are concerned that victims of domestic and gang violence will retreat further into dangerous situations, because the fear of the United States government and immigration courts may lead to immigrants not expressing their need for protection or assistance.

“We work every day with clients who feel unsafe in their home country and we are wary about any policy that could cause crime victims to retreat or refrain from seeking protection, or even force them to return to an abusive situation and be re-victimized,” said GAIN Executive Director Monica Khant. “This is a tragedy for victims of domestic violence and gang-based violence and we stand with our immigrant clients and legal community in challenging the Attorney General’s decision.”

Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 2005, GAIN has provided free immigration legal services to victims of crimes and persecution. Our vision is a world with safety, freedom, and opportunity for all.

For more information, please call 678-335-6040 ext. 101.