Barr Decision Closes Door on Asylum Seekers Fearing Persecution

A new ruling by the Justice Department says that asylum seekers fearing persecution can be sent back to their home countries, even if they have a legitimate fear that someone will kill them because of who they’re related to. A ruling on July 29, 2019, by Attorney General William Barr limits the ability of migrants to seek asylum in the United States. Barr used an immigration process known as “certification” to issue a decision that closes the door on most asylum-seekers who fear persecution due to family ties, overturning years of precedent, reports NBC News

“The case involves a Mexican man who said he was threatened by gangs when his father refused to let them use his store. U.S. law requires asylum-seekers to prove they fear persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a “particular social group.” The Board of Immigration Appeals determined that the man’s family constituted a social group.

Barr reversed that finding, writing that a family does not qualify as such a group just because it is being persecuted. His ruling will now lower the number of migrants who are eligible for asylum.

Because Barr is the top judge, he can essentially pluck cases from the Board of Immigration Appeals, which is effectively the appellate arm of the immigration courts, for “certification.” After reviewing those cases, he can issue binding rulings.” 

Andrea Lino, staff attorney at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, who represented the asylum-seeker in the case, told NPR,

“But based on the line of questionings that the judge was asking my client, it seems that he is pretty much seeing that family as a particular social group has changed per the attorney general decision on Monday, which is very problematic because it’s ignoring years of years of precedent recognizing family as a particular social group.”

The Immigration Simplified attorneys work with you to evaluate your asylum status and guide you in your journey to getting a Green Card. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at (312) 883-9944.

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