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‘This is shameful’: Trump DOJ guts asylum protections for members of families threatened with violence

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“Barr has announced that a gang’s threat to torture or kill you or your family doesn’t constitute a foundation for seeking asylum.”

In a decision immigrant rights advocates said could have horrific consequences for thousands of people fleeing violence in Central America, Attorney General William Barr ruled Monday that being an immediate member of a persecuted family is not sufficient grounds to seek asylum in the United States.

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According to immigration experts, Barr’s move rewrites years of law and represents the Trump administration’s latest far-reaching assault on asylum protections.

“This is a continuation of an attack on Central American asylum seekers,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement. “In Central America, gangs will attack one family member but threaten another family member.”

As the New York Times Migrants are eligible for asylum in the United States if they can prove they were persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, or what immigration laws describe as “membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” Mr. Barr’s ruling concluded that the immigration appeals court ‘erred’ in finding that a migrant’s family qualified as a persecuted social group.

Federal law allows the attorney general to overrule the decisions of the immigration appeals board, which is part of the Justice Department. But like many of the Trump administration’s recent attempts to restrict migration to the United States’ southwest border, Mr. Barr’s ruling was expected to be challenged in the wider court system, immigration advocates and lawyers said.

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“In this latest assault on asylum, the administration has taken the absurd position that families are not recognized within societies as distinct groups,” Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, said in a statement. “This is shameful.”

Observers pointed out that Barr’s decision appeared to leave an exception for members of wealthy or politically connected families.

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Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) slammed Barr’s ruling in a tweet late Monday.

“AG Barr has announced that a gang’s threat to torture or kill you or your family doesn’t constitute a foundation for seeking asylum,” said Merkley. “Trump’s determination to slam the door on refugees with a credible threat on their lives violates our moral responsibility.”

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) also decried Barr’s decision, calling it “another cruel attempt to prevent vulnerable families from seeking asylum.”

“Many of the families fleeing Central America have been victims of gang violence,” tweeted the CHC, “and have seen their loved ones murdered, tortured, or raped.”

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Barr’s move comes just days after President Donald Trump’s “most extreme run at an asylum ban” was temporarily halted by a federal judge after rights groups sued.

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, some Trump administration officials are pushing to slash U.S. refugee admissions to zero in 2020.

“The president and some of his senior advisers simply don’t want refugees to come to the United States, whether through the resettlement program or as asylum-seekers,” Scott Roehm, director of the Center for Victims of Torture’s Washington, D.C., office, said in a statement. “This is not about safety, or security, or economics; it’s xenophobia-fueled politics.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘They love the meanest parts of him’: Conservative writer explains why evangelical Christians stick with Trump

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Ben Howe, a conservative writer and evangelical Christian who refuses to support Donald Trump, explained why fellow evangelicals continue to back the president despite his decidedly ungodly behavior.

Speaking with the Atlantic’s Emma Green about his new book The Immoral Majority, Howe — whose evangelical bona fides include attending pastor Jerry Falwell’s church as a kid — described evangelicals’ support for Trump, insisting “they love the meanest parts of him.”

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‘Mental midget’ Stephen Miller absolutely demolished in MSNBC blast at Trump’s ‘misfit’ advisers

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Given the opportunity to discuss two profiles on White House adviser Stephen Miller -- published by the Washington Post and the New York Times late Saturday -- Democratic consultant Don Calloway jumped in with both feet to trash the man he called a "mental midget"."

Asked p on MSNBC about the controversial Miller's outsized influence on Donald Trump, Calloway didn't hold back.

"What goes through your head when you hear how much influence Stephen Miller has on immigration policy?" host Alex Witt asked.

"Stephen Miller is a mental midget, that's the best thing I can say," Calloway began to the sounds of laughter offscreen.

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Black woman reveals how Trump is ruining her marriage: ‘My white Republican husband is starting to hate me’

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A black woman revealed over the weekend how President Donald Trump and right-wing media are straining her marriage.

In a Twitter rant on Saturday, a woman going by the name Glass Butterfly hit a nerve by starting a discussion about the challenges of interracial marriage in the age of Trump.

"My white Republican husband is starting to hate me because the longer we live through this administration the 'BLACKER' I become," she revealed. "Any interracially and opposing politically affiliated couples going through this? Like...I have NO idea how to balance who we are..or are becoming."

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