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Statement: Sessions is wrong to stop granting asylum to those fleeing domestic abuse and gang violence.

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Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued an order directing immigration authorities to no longer grant asylum on the basis of fleeing gang violence and domestic abuse in a home country. This mean-spirited decision puts on full display the Trump Administration’s cold-hearted view of immigrants, with apparent special contempt toward women and children.

Under the guise of “the rule of law” this decision flies directly in the face of common-sense immigration policy and—let us be clear—will be directly responsible for the death of countless men, women and children who are deported back into demonstrably dangerous situations.

It cannot be ignored that women and children will be the ones most endangered by this shift in policy. This fact alone ensures there can be no responsible justification for this decision, and instead confirms the Administration’s wanton hatred and anti-immigrant agenda.

At its core, this order goes directly against American values and closes our nation’s doors on many vulnerable individuals in their deepest times of need. This action harkens back to some of our darkest days during World War II when we once turned our backs on desperate refugees. The shame and horror of our refusal still haunts our nation to this day. We’ve progressed so far from this ill-informed isolationism, and we cannot allow ourselves to be dragged back by xenophobia and racism.

As the people of this nation, we must not remain silent in the face of this injustice. Our morals demand that we take a firm stand against the Administration’s blatant disregard for our American heritage as a place of welcome to those who need the shelter of freedom.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Ours is a nation of immigrants and our history as a place of refuge from persecution goes back to the earliest foundations of our country. The Administration’s continued hostility toward immigrants in attempts to undermine this footing are both inhumane and un-American.

We refuse to be defined by these actions, and we reaffirm a commitment to the diversity which gives us our strength as a nation. This is the true story and heritage of American, and we will fight for it.