News & Politics

'Their Blood Is on Your Hands': Democratic Senator Blasts Jeff Sessions' 'Shameful' Decision on Refugees

“Once again, an administration that claims to be tough on crime is actually just tough on crime victims."

Photo Credit: AFGE

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' ruling Monday that the Justice Department would no longer consider domestic abuse and gang violence to be reasons for seeking asylum was met with immediate outrage and alarm.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) was particularly caustic in his response to Sessions' deeply troubling decision.

“Once again, an administration that claims to be tough on crime is actually just tough on crime victims," Blumenthal said in a statement. "Today’s shameful decision by the Attorney General slams the door in the face of women fleeing brutal violence, LGBT refugees fleeing persecution, and thousands of others seeking safety in the United States."

He continued: "America is better than this, but apparently Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not. Today’s decision will send untold numbers of refugees to their deaths. Attorney General Sessions: their blood is on your hands.”

The decision still allows that people immigrants seeking asylum in the United States on grounds of domestic abuse or gang violence can still apply, but it makes it very unlikely they will be successful. Not even legitimate and verified threats that pose an imminent danger toward the asylum-seekers will be considered justification for the claim.

Instead, immigrants must show, among other criteria, that "government protection from such harm in their home country is so lacking that their persecutors’ actions can be attributed to the government."

In other words, the fact that people are extremely likely to be killed or otherwise victimized in their home country is not enough, in Sessions' view, to ground their asylum claim. That threat must essentially be coming from their government — and they must be able to prove this fact.

As Blumenthal argues, it's hard to escape any conclusion other than that this policy will result in tragic and avoidable deaths.

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.