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gang violence

Faith in the Valley

Fresno moved a step closer Thursday to fund an unconventional program that aims to reduce gun violence. After a fiery debate, the Fresno City Council voted to partially fund Advance Peace.

 

Three council members voted to allocate $200,000 from the budget for the program. The city administration, local leaders, and Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer have 90 days to come up with a proposal detailing how the money will be used. After the proposal is submitted, the city council will vote on it.

 

Immigrants who are fleeing domestic or gang violence can seek asylum once again.

 

On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down a decision made by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in June. Sessions’ decision disqualified domestic and gang violence claims for people applying for asylum.

 

The ACLU and the University of California’s Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies filed a class action lawsuit challenging that decision in August.

 

Monica Velez

The soft chatter in the waiting room at the Yarra Law Group offices in Fresno are muffled by a Food Network show playing on TV. Receptionist tap their keyboards and answer phone calls. 

A 23-year-old woman from El Salvador, who we’ll call Ana, is among the dozen people in the room. A receptionist calls her name and she goes in to see her immigration attorney, Jeremy Clason. He’s preparing documents he’ll eventually file with the immigration court in San Francisco. She speaks to him softly as she begins to tell her story.

Laura Tsutsui

Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions made changes to the qualifications of those seeking asylum in the United States. Now, people fleeing domestic or gang violence no longer qualify for asylum. 

To be granted asylum, people have to prove they’re in fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion. An immigration appeals court during the Obama administration ruled those fearing domestic and gang violence fall into the “social group” category. Sessions overturned that decision.