In a brutal confirmation of the Trump administration's callousness toward the safety or welfare of people fleeing disgusting situations and trying to enter the U.S., Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to people who are victims of gang violence or domestic abuse.
Such cases can be appealed to the circuit courts, which are part of the judicial branch of government.
"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, can not itself establish an asylum claim", he continued.
Sessions told immigration judges in Washington that illegal immigrants are misusing the asylum system.
In the law's current interpretation, foreign nationals can apply for USA asylum if they claim persecution or fear because of race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group or political viewpoint, the report said. In March, Sessions ended a requirement that asylum seekers get a full hearing before an immigration judge, making it easier for judges to close cases they deem frivolous or unlikely to succeed.
'"Credible fear claims have sky-rocketed and the percentage of asylum claims found to be meritorious by our judges has declined significantly", stated the attorney general.
Sessions' decision drew immediate rebukes from dozens of immigration rights advocate groups and lawyers.
Mr Sessions said the woman obtained restraining orders against her husband and had him arrested at least once. She said she was escaping from an ex-husband who had physically and emotionally abused her for years, even after she moved elsewhere in El Salvador.
And immigration courts overall face a backlog of about 700,000 cases of all types.
Sessions sent the case back to an immigration judge, whose ruling can be appealed to the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals and then to a federal appeals court, Musalo said.
An administration official said last month that the backlog of asylum cases topped 300,000, almost half the total backlog. Taking a tough stance on immigration has "become a political tool for the Trump administration to play to a base that's very anti-immigrant and anti-refugee", said Karen Musalo, professor of law at the U.C. Hastings College of the Law and co-counsel in the 2016 case Matter of A-B, the case Sessions reopened to make Monday's move.