Attorney General’s Decision Would Deprive Asylum Seekers of Bond Hearings

April 16, 2019

WASHINGTON—In a decision today, Attorney General William Barr ruled that individuals with valid protection asylum claims who entered between ports of entry no longer are eligible for release on bond by an immigration judge. The decision could result in the unnecessary detention of thousands more individuals each year, despite the enormous financial and human costs.

Barr concluded that the only option for these individuals for release from detention during their deportation proceedings is parole, which Department of Homeland Security officers may grant or deny in their discretion. Barr delayed implementation of his decision for 90 days to afford DHS an opportunity to conduct operational planning for additional detention space and parole decisions.

The decision comes on the heels of a decision by a federal judge in Seattle who ordered the government to provide prompt bond hearings with basic procedural protections to these same individuals. The court gave the government until May 6, 2019 to implement that order. The case is Padilla v. ICE.

The following statement is from Trina Realmuto, directing attorney for the American Immigration Council and co-counsel for the plaintiffs and class member in Padilla:

"Barr’s decision is the latest in the Trump administration’s ongoing attack on individuals fleeing persecution and torture in their countries of origin. Rather than comply with recent district court order requiring prompt and fair bond hearings for asylum seekers before an immigration judge, the administration has elected instead to lock them up indefinitely.

"With the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the ACLU, the American Immigration Council intends to challenge the new decision."


For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto at [email protected] or 202-507-7526

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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