AG Garland Just Made It Easier for Immigrants with Criminal Histories to Claim Asylum

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Posted: May 10, 2022 4:15 PM
AG Garland Just Made It Easier for Immigrants with Criminal Histories to Claim Asylum

Source: Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP

Attorney General Merrick Garland has made it easier for immigrants who commit crimes while in the U.S. to not be deported after he ruled on Monday that immigration judges must take into the person's mental health when they claim asylum.

According to Fox News, Garland's directive was the result of reviewing the case of a Mexican national convicted in April 2017 of burglary in New Jersey and sentenced to four years in prison. He wanted to block his deportation by claiming he would be persecuted because of his sexual orientation and mental health condition if deported to Mexico.

An immigrant judge first dismissed the application while not taking the man's mental health into account and an appeal resulted in the same ruling. After the Garland requested to review the case in December, he said on Monday, "I have determined that it is appropriate to overrule the Board’s decision in G-G-S."

Garland pointed to another case where a domestic violence victim was convicted of assaulting their abuser and that assault was influenced by post-traumatic stress disorder.

"In some circumstances, a respondent’s mental health condition may indicate that the respondent does not pose a danger to the community," he said, adding, "Of course, an individual may pose a danger to the community notwithstanding a mental health condition, and in those cases, the ‘particularly serious crime’ bar to asylum and withholding of removal may apply. But the potential relevance of mental health evidence to the dangerousness inquiry suffices to establish that such evidence should not categorically be disregarded, as G-G-S- held."

"Going forward, immigration adjudicators may consider a respondent’s mental health in determining whether a respondent, having been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of the United States."