After a series of changes in the interpretation of the law announced by the attorney general, the country expands the possibilities of obtaining immigration status.
The Biden administration is reversing a series of immigration rules established during the administration of President Donald Trump.
Immigration law, like any other law, can only be changed by Congress. But the executive branch, when implementing regulations, can interpret the law and modify specific standards. This is what happened to asylum law in the United States.
In 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions imposed legal standards that defined the interpretation and implementation of the asylum law. The current attorney general, Merrick Garland, issued a series of orders reversing the limitations of the previous administration and restoring a broader interpretation of the law.
The consequence of this change? The United States once again considers valid cases to receive asylum in the country. Those victims of domestic violence and those in their country of origin were threatened by gangs.
According to the Justice Department, Garland's decision follows in the footsteps of an executive order signed by President Joe Biden in February, giving federal officials nine months to implement new regulations that include considering nursing home cases. Of people who say they face a danger of persecution in their countries of origin.
Of course, it does not mean that anyone who claims to be a victim of domestic violence or to have been the target of gang threats will immediately receive asylum in the United States. But for the first time in three years, immigration judges have the discretion to consider these cases and grant asylum if they deem it necessary.
The change is significant for thousands of Central American migrants fleeing gang violence in their countries.
Those who in recent years filed such a case and were denied based on Sessions' decision will now be able to appeal to an immigration judge.
"The opinion begins with a broad statement that victims of private criminal activity do not qualify for asylum, except in exceptional circumstances. That broad language could be read in a way that creates a strong presumption against asylum claims based on private conduct. As a result, the ruling creates confusion and discourages the careful adjudication of asylum claims on a case-by-case basis," Garland wrote regarding Sessions' rules on gang victim shelters, suggesting they did not follow sound logic.
The attorney general was much blunter in speaking of domestic violence nursing homes, stating that Sessions' decision "is inconsistent with the decisions of various appeals courts."
The new rule comes amid a crisis on the country's southern border that has become the Biden administration's first major unsolved problem. By expanding the possibilities for asylum, the message somehow encourages people to risk coming to the United States. Especially those who come from Central America are the majority of those who try to cross the border and present a case of gang violence.
Opponents of this administration's immigration measures argue that Garland's decision is one step closer to being an inviting country with open borders.