Attorney General Barr Overturns Board of Immigration Appeals

Attorney General Barr Overturns Board of Immigration Appeals

A new ruling has come into play by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, which is anticipated to prevent tens of thousands of migrants from seeking asylum under the justification of family ties. Barr is now saying that it is not enough to qualify for asylum if you are simply a family member of someone being targeted by gangs.

The case highlighted on Monday by the Justice Department is known as Matter L-E-A and is reportedly about the son of a man “who owned a store targeted by a local drug cartel.” The son, who is a Mexican citizen, entered the US illegally seeking asylum twice. His last entrance was in 2011.

Barr ended up overturning the asylum decision made by the Board of Immigration Appeals stating the board had “improperly recognized” the father’s immediate family member as a “particular social group.” Barr’s argument was that “virtually every alien” would be able to claim asylum under those terms and in conclusion he stated,

While the Board has recognized certain clans and subclans as ‘particular social groups,’ most nuclear families are not inherently socially distinct and therefore do not qualify as ‘particular social groups.’

Further, as almost every alien is a member of a family of some kind, categorically recognizing families as particular social groups would render virtually every alien a member of a particular social group.  There is no evidence that Congress intended the term ‘particular social group’ to cast so wide a net.

Barr’s ruling comes as an addition to Trump’s newly signed “safe third country” agreement with Guatemala which restricts asylum applications to the US. Under this agreement, migrants who cross through Guatemala on their way to the US will have to apply for sanctuary in Guatemala instead of at the US border. It is still uncertain how the agreement will go into effect but the two countries have been negotiating a deal for some time and the push for a resolution came from Trump on Wednesday where he threatened to place tariffs or other consequences on Guatemala if an agreement could not be reached.

President Trump stated it was a “landmark agreement” and that it would “put the coyotes and smugglers out of business.” He went on to add,“This is a very big day. We have long been working with Guatemala and now we can do it the right way.”  

The President was reportedly asked if he plans to reach similar agreements with other countries such as Honduras and El Salvador in which he replied, “I do indeed.” However, not everyone is in favor of the new deal.
Congressman Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs, was quoted saying, “Simply put, Guatemala is not a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers, as the law requires.” He went on to say the agreement was “immoral” and “illegal.”

Despite the controversial ruling of Barr and the new “safe third country” agreement we can say with confidence that the border crisis is at the very minimum being addressed. Whether or not the two decisions will benefit our crisis or hinder the progress is still up for debate. Until the implementation of the deal it’s hard to know for sure, but it seems as though this is just the beginning of new immigration reform.


Author: 777 Media Source

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