New York Times letter about Jeff Sessions and Asylum–What Sessions Did 2 Days Ago is Beyond Abhorent

Here it is:

To the Editor:

Re “Sessions Shrinks Paths to Asylum” (front page, June 12):

The ruling that Attorney General Jeff Sessions handed down saying that fleeing domestic or gang violence isn’t reason enough to qualify someone to receive asylum here in the United States is tantamount to holding a gun to someone’s head and pulling the trigger.

I am a psychiatrist who has performed scores of evaluations of asylum seekers over the last decade and can attest to the fact that asylum seekers overwhelmingly face death if they are sent back to their country of origin.

For example, if a Central American gang has recruited an adolescent male and he refuses to join, he will be killed. Or if an adolescent girl refuses a gang’s request that she become a sex slave for the gang (no matter how they phrase the request), she will be killed. I have seen mothers who fled Central America only after not one but two of their children were killed for refusing to comply with gang requests.

Mr. Sessions’s decision will be analogized to the United States’ turning away boats filled with Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany. Those who support the administration that made this happen will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

J. WESLEY BOYD, BOSTON

The writer is an associate professor of psychiatry and on the faculty of the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School.

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