Give Asylum to Refugees of Deadly Violence

Target: Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States

Goal: Restore asylum protections for individuals and families fleeing domestic and gang violence.

A teenage boy who spent most of his life in Iowa was deported to a gang-infested region of Mexico after he received a speeding ticket. Weeks later, on the day he would have graduated high school, his life ended in a brutal act of gang violence. Tens of thousands of individuals seek escape from similar brutalities every day, hoping to find a safer and better life in America. A few years ago, the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals set an important precedent by sheltering victims of gang and domestic violence with the protection of asylum. Attorney General Jeff Sessions just struck a fatal blow to this human rights ruling in a move that could – in the words of one immigration lawyer – be “essentially a death sentence to potentially thousands of people fleeing harm”

The precedent-setting case involved a woman from El Salvador who sought asylum in America under the claim that her husband had repeatedly sexually and physically abused her. Asylum provides for the entry of individuals into the country who have a “credible fear” of death or persecution due to several factors, including religion, race, and political beliefs. The asylum guidelines also ensure protection for those part of “a particular social group.” The previous decision made a strong proclamation that those escaping violence in Central America – where gender-based and gang violence is rampant and where local laws addressing these epidemics are sorely lacking – could qualify for asylum under this distinction. Sessions undermined this legal ruling by claiming it is “inherently ambiguous” and by saying that if violence is committed by “non-governmental actors” and in private, then it is essentially not important enough for asylum status.

This is an affront to the very integrity of America, a country that has long held itself as a champion of the oppressed and the persecuted. Sign this petition to reaffirm true American values and to demand the attacks stop on a process that embodies those values.


Dear Attorney General Sessions,

When you “self-referred” a precedent-setting Board of Immigration Appeals case to the Department of Justice, were you doing so because of some pressing injustice you discovered — or for political reasons? Only 20 percent of asylum applications were granted last year, so the idea that asylum seekers are somehow “gaming the system” is hardly on a sound foundation.

What we do know is that for tens of thousands of individuals, their very lives may hinge on your dictate. This is the true injustice. Domestic and gang violence reports from Central America in particular only grow more horrific with each passing day. Just a few short weeks ago, a young man—a boy who had grown up and been educated in America’s heartland – had his throat slit and his life snuffed out on the day he was set to become a high school graduate. ICE officials had forced him to a hostile and unknown region  only three weeks before.

Will you turn a cold, blind eye to such tragedies under the guise of “ambiguity” and “not-our-problem”? Will you use this questionable maneuver to enact increasingly stringent policies that leave parents separated from their children with no legal recourse and thousand of refugees still in limbo with no hope for survival? Will you continue persecuting the “other” in a bid for political survival, or will you do the right thing, the American thing, and empower the persecuted?

The American people are watching. History is watching….and judging.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Oguzhan Ali

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One Comment

  1. gen agustsson says:

    the answer is to stop wars and have peace.

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