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New rule aims to limit asylum claims

People who are seeking asylum in Arizona may be particularly concerned at the ongoing efforts of the Trump administration to restrict access to the United States, especially at the southern border. While some of the administration's moves have been blocked by lawsuits in federal court, officials continue to introduce new measures to hinder asylum seekers' claims. On July 29, the administration imposed a rule that a claim of persecution based on threats against a family member is generally insufficient to be granted asylum. The rule was issued by Attorney General William Barr.

While the Trump administration claims that it is being overwhelmed with fraudulent asylum claims, many of the new rules it has imposed do not clearly differentiate between fraud and certain types of threats and persecutions. There have been a growing number of refugees from Central America arriving at the U.S. southern border, although many of these claimants eventually lose in immigration court. Immigration courts, unlike regular federal courts, fall under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department, giving Barr the authority to set rules for adjudicating cases. However, immigrants and their advocates can still go to the federal courts to challenge these rules.

In a previous case, the administration issued a rule saying that asylum seekers must file their claim in the first country where they arrive. However, this rule was blocked by a preliminary injunction issued by a federal judge. A full trial will proceed on the case, although the administration is asking the judge to suspend the injunction.

Asylum seekers may be fleeing persecution due to their religion, race, political beliefs or social group, a category that has traditionally included family units. People who are concerned about their immigration status amid many legal changes can consult with an immigration law attorney about how they can protect their rights.

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