Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday afternoon that domestic violence and gang violence will no longer serve as sufficient reasons to automatically grant an immigrant asylum.

Why it matters: The decision comes as the U.S. faces a significant uptick in asylum claims, and as the Trump administration continues to do all it can to cut back on border crossings and immigration numbers. Sessions has often been skeptical of the asylum process in the U.S., claiming that it is often abused by immigrants trying to come to the U.S. for other reasons.

"The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes—such as domestic violence or gang violence—or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim."
— Key quote from the decision

Yes, but: It's possible that there would be instances where violence from a non-government actor could be the basis for granting asylum, according to the decision, but "such claims are unlikely to satisfy the statutory grounds" necessary.

Between the lines: By law, an immigration qualifies for asylum if he or she can prove that they have been persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or "membership in a particular social group." It's the last part of the definition that has been open to interpretation, specifically when related to issues of domestic violence and gang violence.

  • In 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that, because victims of domestic violence could be specifically classified by both their sex and marital status, they legally qualified for asylum. Sessions is now rescinding that decision.

Go deeper: U.S. faces surge of asylum claims under Trump

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What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

FBI: Russian hacking group stole data after targeting local governments

FBI Headquarters. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.