Many people in North Carolina are deeply concerned about the changes to the immigration system being made by the Trump administration. Even people who are not refugees or asylum seekers have expressed outrage at the repeated measures aimed to minimize the number of people eligible to seek protection in the United States, especially at the southern border. On July 29, Attorney General William Barr promulgated another rule aimed to cut back on asylum claims. Barr said that people cannot rely on persecution targeting their family members in order to seek asylum.

While the Trump administration claims that the U.S. immigration system is overwhelmed with fraudulent or dubious asylum requests, the rules it has promulgated are rolling back decades of understandings about how people can seek protection. In order for people to make a successful claim for asylum, they must prove that they face a credible risk of persecution in their home countries based on their race, religion, political views or membership in a particular social group. Family units have typically been understood as social groups under the asylum laws, but Barr is arguing that family persecution is an insufficient basis for asylum.

The immigration courts are administered by the Justice Department, but their rules can eventually be appealed to the federal court system. The federal courts have seen a number of cases filed challenging Trump administration changes to immigration rules, including one case against a rule requiring asylum seekers to first apply for protection in a third country rather than proceeding to the U.S.

People with immigration concerns may wonder how the Trump administration’s restrictive approach to migration might affect their own legal status. An immigration law attorney can provide advice and guidance to help them stay in the country and protect their rights.