U.S. Attorney General William Barr is tightening restrictions on migrants seeking asylum in the United States on the basis of family relations.

According to the attorney general’s written order, on Monday, July 29, family members of individuals who are eligible to receive asylum in the United States are not automatically eligible for asylum themselves, unless they too qualify as being at risk of persecution on account of “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Barr’s decision specifies that an individual will not be allowed to claim belonging to a “social group,” as legally defined, simply because they are related to a family member who is subject to persecution.

Barr states in his decision, “I conclude that an alien’s family-based group will not constitute a particular social group unless it has been shown to be socially distinct in the eyes of its society, not just those of its alleged persecutor.”

Monday’s decision reverses a 2018 ruling made by the U.S. Board of Immigration that granted asylum to a migrant whose family member was persecuted in their home country. In that particular case, as reported by TheHill.com, the migrant was granted asylum because his father was threatened by a local drug cartel.

President Trump has indicated that he wants to tighten restrictions on asylum cases, as part of his administration’s larger efforts to reform immigration rules. Congress has made little progress on the issue and is now in recess until September.

The administration also issued a decision earlier in July that would deny migrants asylum if they pass through one or more other countries before entering the United States through the southern border. The policy aims to block migrants coming from Central America.

However, that decision has been blocked by a preliminary injunction by a U.S. District Court in San Francisco, pending further review.

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