SEATTLE, July 22, 2019— Today, a federal appeals court ruled that asylum seekers must continue to receive bond hearings while the court considers the Trump administration’s appeal to deny bond hearings with procedural protections to asylum seekers.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Trump administration’s bid to arbitrarily jail asylum seekers without a bond hearing while it considers whether to keep in place a court decision by a federal district judge in Seattle. The decision held that the policy of denying bond hearings violated due process. The district judge also previously held that the government is required to provide basic procedural protections during the hearings, but the appeals court declined to require the government to put those protections in place while the appeal is pending.

The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr in Matter of M-S-. The lawsuit, Padilla v. ICE, cites violations of due process, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The following reaction is from: 

Trina Realmuto, directing attorney, American Immigration Council: “Today’s decision restores bond hearings for many individuals seeking protection in the United States. We will continue to challenge the government’s unlawful attempt to eliminate these hearings and to fight for basic procedural protections so that asylum seekers may have a fair opportunity at winning release.”

Matt Adams, legal director, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project: “This order restores a fundamental protection that has existed for decades—the right to seek a bond hearing—to protect against people being unnecessarily locked up while they wait for their asylum claims to be processed,” said Matt Adams, legal director for NWIRP. “Our class members are locked up for 6-12 months waiting for their case to be decided, even though every single one of them was interviewed by DHS officers and found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture.”

Michael Tan, senior staff attorney, American Civil Liberties Union: “No matter what the Trump administration says, the Constitution forbids the government from locking people up without basic due process. This ruling will help make sure that asylum seekers remain free from arbitrary detention.”


The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. Follow the latest Council news and information on and Twitter @immcouncil.

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is a nationally-recognized legal services organization founded in 1984. Each year, NWIRP provides direct legal assistance in immigration matters to over 10,000 low-income people from over 130 countries, speaking over 60 languages and dialects. NWIRP also strives to achieve systemic change to policies and practices affecting immigrants through impact litigation, public policy work, and community education. Follow the latest NWIRP news and information at and on Twitter at @nwirp.