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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

Go deeper

32 mins ago - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning 4 of the 5 cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in 4 out of 5 instances gives legitimacy to the Board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

New York AG: State severely undercounted COVID nursing home deaths

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Data from New York's public health department undercounted COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday by state Attorney General Letitia James.

The big picture: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration did not include nursing home patients who died after being transferred to the hospital in its tally of over 8,500 nursing home deaths, according to the report. Data provided to the attorney general's office from 62 nursing homes "shows a significantly higher number of resident COVID-19 deaths can be identified than is reflected" in the official count.

Trading platforms curb trading on high-flying Reddit stocks

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Why it matters: It limits access to the traders that have contributed to the wild Reddit-driven activity of the past few days — a phenomenon that has gripped Wall Street and the country.