Federal court blocks Trump administration policy of arbitrarily jailing asylum-seekers

By agency reporter
July 4, 2019

A federal court has blocked a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targeted asylum seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and American Immigration Council challenged the policy. The lawsuit, Padilla v. ICE, cites violations of the due process clause, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

Michael Tan, senior staff attorney, ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project said: “The court forcefully rejected the Trump administration’s bid to arbitrarily jail asylum-seekers without a hearing. Try as it may, the administration cannot circumvent the Constitution in its effort to deter and punish asylum-seekers applying for protection.”

Trina Realmuto, directing attorney, American Immigration Council said: “This spring, Attorney General Barr attempted to upend the immigration courts’ longstanding practice of providing bond hearings for people in the United States with bona fide asylum claims. Today’s decision safeguards many asylum seekers from the attorney general’s unlawful efforts to keep them incarcerated indefinitely while they seek protection from persecution and ensures that they have prompt bond hearings with basic due process protections.”

Matt Adams, legal director, of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project said: “The court reaffirmed what has been settled for decades: that asylum seekers who enter this country have a right to be free from arbitrary detention. Thousands of asylum-seekers will continue to be able to seek release on bond, as they seek protection from persecution and torture.”

* Read the court ruling here

* American Civil Liberties Union https://www.aclu.org/

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