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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

44 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.