This week in immigration news — August 1, 2019

This week the Trump administration announced that they had reached a third-country agreement with Guatemala.

This means that asylum seekers from Guatemala would have to wait there while their case makes its way through the courts in the United States. Critics charge that the agreement is both illegal and immoral, as it would force asylum seekers to remain in a dangerous situation while their case is adjudicated.

On Tuesday, the ACLU asked a federal judge to stop the Trump administration from continuing to separate children from their families.

Despite the administration’s claims that the practice had stopped, filings indicate that the Trump administration has separated more than 900 children from more than 800 parents over the past year.

Attorney General William Barr this week reversed a previous decision that a family is a recognizable social group when claiming asylum.

This is significant, because under U.S. law, a person can claim asylum if they have a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a specific social group. This means that people who flee to the United States because of threats made against their family members would no longer be eligible to claim asylum. Advocates say that this is just the latest move by the Trump administration to restrict asylum.

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