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

July 2, 2019

SEATTLE — 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 Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and 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.”

The court's ruling is available here.


For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7526; 
Matt Adams at NWIRP, [email protected] or 206-957-8611; 
Inga Sarda-Sorensen at ACLU, [email protected] or 347-514-3984. 

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
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