Current law stipulates that in order to be considered for asylum, “immigrants have to prove they’ve suffered or fear suffering persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group,” according to Buzzfeed. In a case called Matter of A-B- heard by Trump cretin and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the latter overruled a previous decision that allowed asylum-seekers to claim persecution by defining themselves as married women “unable to leave their husbands.” In Matter of A-B-, Sessions denied the right to claim persecution to “El Salvadoran women who are unable to leave domestic relationships in which they have children in common with an abusive partner,” making it nearly impossible for those fleeing domestic abuse to seek lawful entry into the U.S.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland vacated Sessions’s decision, though no new rules have been put in place. Additionally, Garland vacated a decision barring a Mexican man from seeking asylum because a cartel had targeted him for his father’s refusal to sell drugs on their behalf.
While the Biden administration’s stance on immigration has been roundly, and rightly, criticized, some see these as vital first steps to undoing at least a small portion of years of cruel treatment directed at those attempting to find refuge in America, including Karen Musalo, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
“The vacating of these decisions allows these cases to be treated like any other — fairly and without bias or prejudgment,” Musalo told Buzzfeed.