Federal Court Blocks Trump Administration Policy of Arbitrarily Jailing Asylum-Seekers

SEATTLE, July 2, 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.

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The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the American Civil Liberties Union, 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.

The following reaction is from:

Trina Realmuto, directing attorney, American Immigration Council: “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, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project: “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.”

Michael Tan, senior staff attorney, ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project: “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.”

Ruling: https://americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/litigation_documents/challenging_credible_fear_interview_and_bond_hearing_delays_preliminary_injunction_order.pdf

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 ImmigrationImpact.com 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 www.nwirp.org and on Twitter at @nwirp.