One of the strengths of our democracy is to have the right to challenge policy that Governments have put in place when a new administration takes office. Jeff Sessions, previously the US Attorney General, did that upon taking office. President Obama and previous presidents had made policy regarding treatment of immigrants, border issues, and number of refugees admitted each year. But upon President Trump’s taking office, his new Attorney-General, Jeff Sessions, had the right to amend policy to fit the beliefs and campaign promises of the new Republican administration. Following are some of the major changes initiated by the new administration:
- Weakening DACA protections for young immigrants.
- Significantly narrowing which immigrants could apply for asylum.
- Significantly reducing the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. each year.
- Instituting the family separation policy whereby adult applicants for asylum were housed separately from their children while awaiting legal decisions. This has subsequently been amended.
- Changing conditions under which new immigrants could apply for asylum. Now only those who come in at legal points of entry can apply. Immigrants who enter the US at locations other than a legal point of entry (such as through the desert) will not be granted asylum.
- Disallowing claims of gang violence and abusive spouses as a valid reason to grant asylum. Only those claiming asylum because of their religion, political beliefs or membership in a social group would be admitted.
When a new administration takes office, the newly appointed Attorney General can amend these policies unless Congress passes legislation to deal with these issues.