The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance on Wednesday, instructing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers to tighten up asylum requirements by only granting asylum to foreign nationals who can prove that they are the victims of government-sanctioned persecution.
The guidance comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled last month that "claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not [generally] qualify for asylum."
The guidance will help to prevent fraud by ruling out asylum for those who claim dangerous neighborhoods and difficult circumstances, devoid of government involvement, as the sole reason for fleeing their home countries. It also says that foreign nationals who illegally enter the U.S. to seek asylum will be more likely to have their application rejected.
"Our laws do not offer protection against instances of violence based on personal, private conflict that is not on account of a protected ground," USCIS spokesman Michael Bars said.
"The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes -- such as domestic violence or gang violence -- or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim," Sessions said.
The agency's decision to restrict asylum to the internationally recognized definition of those who are unable to be returned to the home country due to a well-founded fear of (state) persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion is included in NumbersUSA's Ten Steps to Fix the Broken Immigration System.
For more on this story, see The Washington Times.
Updated: Thu, Jul 26th 2018 @ 1:50pm EDT