On Tuesday, 16 April, US attorney general sets a new immigration precedent that could affect thousands of asylum seekers at the country’s southwest border.
During the immigration ruling, Attorney General William Barr decided that asylum seekers who are facing full removal proceedings should no longer be released on bond implying that the case of lots of asylum seekers who usually reside in the US on bond as related authorities decide on their status will no longer be possible. Such asylum seekers will now have to wait for such decision in detention centers.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is empowered by this ruling to detain this group of asylum seekers indefinitely according to a specialist in immigration matters, Sarah Pierce. Pierce, however, said the ruling would be affected by ICE’s capacity as she does not think the agency currently has it takes to handle such number.
As a result of this capacity limitation, Barr gave ICE 90 days to create more space after which the ruling should become effective.
Unlawful treatment of Asylum seekers
Following this ruling, several immigration organizations have quickly turned into action and are preparing to take the current administration to court regarding this policy according to Michael Tan, an attorney for one of such organizations.
Tan said the ruling is another twist in the punishment of asylum seekers for seeking refuge in the US by the current administration. He said no law in the country allows the government to treat asylum seekers this way without following a due process.
US laws empower the attorney general to overrule the decisions of immigration judges and establish new precedents just as Barr did. Barr set the new precedent by overruling the decision made by an immigration judge and also condemned the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals which is responsible for reviewing decisions made by immigration courts.
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