US government ends strict Trump-era asylum rules for violence victims

US government ends strict Trump-era asylum rules for violence victims

Washington DC: The US government on Wednesday ended two Trump administration policies that made it harder for immigrants fleeing violence to qualify for asylum, especially Central Americans.

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a new policy saying immigration judges should cease following the Trump-era rules that made it tough for immigrants who faced domestic or gang violence to win asylum in the US. The move could make it easier for them to win their cases for humanitarian protection and was widely celebrated by immigrant advocates.

The significance of this cannot be overstated, said Kate Melloy Goettel, legal director of litigation at the American Immigration Council. This was one of the worst anti-asylum decisions under the Trump era, and this is a really important first step in undoing that.

Garland said he was making the changes after President Joe Biden ordered his office and the Department of Homeland Security to draft rules addressing complex issues in immigration law about groups of people who should qualify for asylum.

The changes come as US immigration authorities have reported unusually high numbers of encounters with migrants on the southern border. In April, border officials reported the highest number of encounters in more than 20 years, though many migrants were repeat crossers who previously had been expelled from the country under pandemic-related powers.

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