McKenna on KIRO: Crossing the border, asking for asylum

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about what is involved in applying for asylum upon arriving in the U.S. and recent changes to what is required. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced that “victims of domestic abuse and gang violence generally will not qualify for asylum under federal law…”

Dave Ross: “So for the sake of argument let me take the, I guess you’d call it, the heartless view. Why is this any concern of ours? We have our country and our own problems. Why would we even have a process for taking on the problems of other people?”

Rob McKenna: “That is the point he is making, that we can’t solve the world’s ills. Terrible things happen to people and their own law enforcement systems don’t protect them.

“On the other hand, other AGs have disagreed with that. Janet Reno and some of her successors believed that being a victim of domestic violence in some circumstances would qualify you for asylum. So would being a victim of gang violence.

“And so it comes down to the language in the asylum statute whether you are part of persecuted social group or not. In the case that the Board of Immigration Appeals decided back in 2014, they said, ‘Yep, a woman from Guatemala who can’t get out of a marriage, that qualifies.’ Attorney General Sessions is reversing that.”

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