11:17, April 17 257 0 abajournal.com

2019-04-17 11:17:04
AG Barr orders detention of some asylum-seekers who pass credible fear interviews pending case resolution

detention center

Photo by Benedek Alpar/Shutterstock.com.

On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr ordered the detention of some asylum-seekers pending resolution of their cases, even though they were able to show a credible fear of persecution or torture in their home countries.

Barr’s order, a reversal of current policy, would take effect in 90 days and is likely to be challenged in court, report the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

“We will see the administration in court on this latest unlawful & inhuman attempt to deter and punish asylum-seekers,” tweeted Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. https://twitter.com/OmarJadwat/status/1118314478712578048?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

President Donald Trump has asserted that immigrants coming into the country are coached by lawyers on how to request asylum. Trump claimed that some asylum claims are a “big fat con job.”

The order applies to immigrants who cross the border without authorization and does not affect immigrants who apply for asylum at a port of entry, according to the New York Times. The administration requires those who apply for asylum at ports of entry to remain in Mexico.

A federal judge blocked the wait-in-Mexico policy, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco allowed the administration to temporarily keep the policy in place as it considers arguments this week, the New York Times reported.

Under Barr’s new policy, immigrants could still seek release on parole rather than bail, but the Department of Homeland Security has the discretion to deny it, the New York Times explains.

One federal judge already has ruled in favor of bail protections. U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman of Seattle ruled April 5 that immigration courts should conduct bond hearings within seven days of a request by an immigrant who has shown a credible fear of persecution. Pechman’s ruling shifted the burden to the government to justify detention, according to a press release and the Associated Press.

Another obstacle is court rulings that bar the administration from holding children in immigration detention for more than 20 days. The Trump administration previously transferred children to licensed facilities or guardians while adults were detained, but rescinded the family separation policy last year.

The administration is seeking legislation to change the 20-day cap, according to the Wall Street Journal. The government is also considering whether to give parents a choice between family separation or waiver of their children’s rights.

Unless stopped, this decision will result in the unlawful jailing of thousands of people who should not be behind bars.

Together with @NWIRP and @immcouncil, we will see the administration in court on this latest unlawful & inhuman attempt to deter and punish asylum-seekers. https://t.co/KpCP3nOrtG