Calling the Trump administration’s decision to end asylum protections for victims of violence one that “betrays our values,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit against the government on Tuesday on behalf of several refugees.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in June that victims of domestic and gang violence would no longer qualify for asylum protections, reversing decades of precedent.

“This is a naked attempt by the Trump administration to eviscerate our country’s asylum protections,” Jennifer Chang Newell, an attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement. “It’s clear the administration’s goal is to deny and deport as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”

“Providing shelter, safety, and a new life to the victims of persecution has long been part of our national identity, even if not always an ideal we have lived up to.”                 —Cody Wofsky and Katrina Eiland, ACLU

Sessions’ decision hinged on his claim that victims of such attacks should not be counted as members of “a particular social group,” one of the classifications—along with race, religion, political beliefs, and nationality—that asylum-seekers can claim has made them targets for persecution in their home country.

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