Coalition Denounces Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s “Double-Barreled Attack” On Asylum Law

March 9th, 2018

Trump Administration Continues to Erode Due Process for Immigrants

NEW YORK, NY - On March 7th, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new, troubling change in the way that the U.S. runs its historic and successful asylum system, changing how the Department of Justice will interpret asylum cases and the laws set by Congress and International treaties.

Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition Steven Choi issued the following response:

“Note to Attorney General Sessions – we see you. The Administration’s decision to shroud the asylum system in secrecy is part of a larger double-barreled attack on the nearly 1 million asylum recipients who make America great, and on the sacred principle of due process in our legal system. This is another way the politicized DOJ is furthering the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda– not justice.”

The Attorney General has unilaterally directed interested petitioners to submit amicus briefs to discuss whether a person who has been harmed by a private party– and not a government– can qualify for asylum in the United States. The outcome of this decision could have a devastating effect on some of the most vulnerable immigrants who come to the United States, including victims of gang and domestic violence.

Egregiously, the Department of Justice is refusing to make available the initial decision in the case or release the information about the attorney who represented the asylum seeker. This level of secrecy is unprecedented and interferes with the ability of stakeholders (ie: immigration attorneys) to offer a meaningful analysis in their briefs.


By certifying to himself the decision in a case Matter of A-B-, this process is contrary to previous practices by the Board of Immigration Appeals. It denies relevant stakeholders an opportunity to meaningfully address the issues raised by the Attorney General and actively obstructs access to public information that the government is required to provide.

This is the second time this week Sessions has sought to change how the DOJ handles asylum applications, with a decision earlier this week to change the rules on how asylum applications are heard by judges. This most recent announcement would change asylum law itself.