Washington, DC—Today, the Trump administration moved to restrict asylum protections for victims of domestic abuse and gang violence. According to the attorney general’s ruling, immigrants who fear domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not generally qualify for asylum.
Maureen Meyer, Director for Mexico and Migrant Rights at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading research and advocacy organization, issued the following statement:
“With this decision, the U.S. government is turning its back and endangering the lives of thousands of women and children who are victims of violence and gang-related crimes. These are people who have been forced to flee Central America due to rampant corruption and weak criminal justice institutions in their countries of origin. Back home, they have nowhere to turn for protection. U.S. government statistics show that the number of Central American youths and families arriving at the southwest border has increased in comparison to last year. This suggests that conditions on the ground are still dire, which is not a surprise given that El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are among the most violent countries in the world not currently at war. People will continue to flee their home as long as conditions on the ground remain the same. Rather than limiting protections in the United States, the U.S. government should focus on supporting efforts to combat corruption and violence in Central America.”