US moves to limit asylum for threatened family members

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Immigrants who fear persecution because of their family ties will no longer be eligible for asylum, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said Monday.

Barr, who has power to overturn immigration court rulings as head of the Department of Justice, argues not all family units are necessarily considered a “social group” for the purposes of asylum.

People can seek asylum in the U.S. if they can prove a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in specific social group.

Until now, asylum seekers who were threatened because of something their family member did or did not do were eligible. For example, a mother whose life was threatened because her son refused to join a gang would previously qualify for asylum.

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