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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.

“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.”

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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.”

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“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.”

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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North Korea announces ‘test of very great importance’ occurred at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground: report

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North Korea state media reported on a "successful" test at a missile launch site.

"A very important test took place at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on the afternoon of December 7, 2019," a spokesperson for the Academy of the National Defense Science said.

The spokesperson said the test was "of great significance to the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.

https://twitter.com/nktpnd/status/1203486463209431041

#UPDATE North Korea conducts a "very important test" at its Sohae satellite launch site, state media reports, as nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked https://t.co/abYhRDvBic pic.twitter.com/neCYEQTEhf

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Here’s why Ukrainians are shocked about Rudy Giuliani’s new associate

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President Donald Trump's personal attorney is causing "shock" among Ukrainians for working with Andrey Artemenko, according to new reports.

"In an attempt to exonerate President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani has been working with right-wing media outlet One America News Network (OAN) to produce a television special featuring a string of current and former Ukrainian officials defending Trump’s conduct in withholding military aid to Ukraine and seeking investigations of the Bidens," Law & Crime reported Saturday.

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‘Irony and Outrage’: How different — and how similar — are Samantha Bee and Fox News?

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Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are masters of outrage — not just the emotion, but a genre of political theater — just as Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are masters of ironic satire. They’re poles apart, and yet — ironically or outrageously — they’re profoundly similar, both in how they’re impacting their audiences, and why their genres emerged when they did. That’s perhaps the central thesis of “Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the United States,” by Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, who’s both a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Delaware and an improv comedian with the troupe ComedySportz Philadelphia. That’s among the many different hats she wears.

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