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

17 mins ago - World

Lebanon's prime minister resigns in wake of deadly explosion

Protests in Beirut. Photo: Maxim Grigoryev/TASS via Getty

Lebanon's prime minister and cabinet have resigned amid massive protests in the aftermath of a deadly explosion in Beirut that killed more than 160 people, injured 6,000 and left roughly 250,000 homeless.

Why it matters: Protesters blame the incompetence of the ruling elite — widely viewed as corrupt — for the disaster. The unstable and deeply distrusted government will remain in place in a caretaker capacity until a new prime minister is selected.

Updated 45 mins ago - World

Protests erupt in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election win

Protesters and riot police clash in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday during a demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator." Rights groups said at least one protester was killed and dozens more wounded in a "police crackdown," per AP.

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 19,909,062 — Total deaths: 732,128 — Total recoveries — 12,138,271Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 5,053,123 — Total deaths: 163,047 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  4. Public health: How America can do smarter testing.
  5. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Indoor air is the next hotspot.