One of the ways that people come to the United States from other countries is seeking asylum. It is possible for members of a family to file for asylum if one member of the family has been threatened and there is a valid fear that they will be persecuted. Unfortunately, asylum seekers might face a tough road with this claim.
When a person makes an asylum claim based on a threat of violence due to the actions of another family member, they might soon start to face resistance. In this case, the family is known as a social group; however, there have been some challenges brought up about what actually constitutes a social group. One view is that the mere introduction of a criminal element, such as the recruitment of a family member by a gang, doesn't constitute a threat that should lead to asylum.
In one case, a person claimed that they had a well-founded fear of being persecuted because they were a member of a specific family. The lower court and the Bureau of Immigration Appeals denied the asylum claim. The appeals panel took the step of upholding that the family membership basis of fear of persecution was a protected reason for asylum.
With the constant state of change of all sorts of immigration laws, trying to figure out what is currently valid or invalid can be a complex undertaking. Some commonly accepted principles are being upended and overturned. This makes it hard for people trying to come into the country as legally documented immigrants, but it might not be impossible.