U.S. Attorney General Issues Opinion On Families As Social Groups In Asylum Cases

By Matthew Casey
Associated Press
Published: Monday, July 29, 2019 - 10:52pm
Updated: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 8:57am
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William Barr

The U.S. attorney general has extraordinary power over the immigration courts, and William Barr has issued an opinion saying most people who fear persecution because of family ties will no longer be eligible for asylum.

One way for migrants to win asylum is by proving they face persecution in their home country based on their membership in a particular social group.

But a new opinion from the U.S. Attorney General William Barr says families don’t count as a particular social group, except in certain cases.

The courts have always seen families as a “quintessential" social group, said Hillary Walsh, immigration lawyer.

“Like from the inception of what particular social group was — the family unit, the nuclear family — was the particular social group,” Walsh said.

Walsh is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The organization released a statement saying the attorney general’s opinion is poorly reasoned and another effort to restrict asylum.  

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