Attorney General Merrick Garland reversed a pair of decisions on asylum claims made during the Trump administration that restricted how people can claim asylum in the U.S.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the reversals on Wednesday, setting U.S. immigration policy back to where it was before decisions made by Trump-era DOJ officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
According to DOJ officials, the attorney general has the power to pluck individual immigration cases and make a legally binding ruling.
Rosen and Sessions each used that power in separate cases to set precedent saying life-threatening danger due to familial ties and domestic violence did not meet asylum claims standards
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta wrote in a memo Wednesday that the “decisions involve important questions about the meaning of our Nation’s asylum laws, which reflect America’s commitment to providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
“Congress has authorized grants of asylum to those who, among other things, can show that they are fleeing persecution on account of their membership in a ‘particular social group,’” the memo continued.
The decisions mean that the DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)