Justice Dept. to end 'catch and release' detention for migrants

GettyImages-1136140727

GettyImages-1136140727

An illegal immigrant seeking asylum "after establishing a credible fear of persecution or torture is ineligible for release on bond", Barr said in his Tuesday decision letter.

Immigrants numbering in the thousands will be affected by Barr's decision, NBC reports, as those who enter the USA without documents or with possibly forged documents are placed in expedited removal and are then given the credible fear interviews, which 90 percent of asylum seekers pass.

Barr's ruling comes as President Donald Trump continues to ramp up his attack on the USA asylum system and hand more power over immigration policy to his xenophobic senior adviser Stephen Miller. This year the administration implemented a policy to return some asylum seekers to Mexico while their cases work their way through backlogged courts, a policy which has been challenged with a lawsuit. Nor will it apply to migrants applying for asylum at official ports of entry.

The immigrant "must be detained until his removal proceedings conclude, unless he is granted parole". "Immigration judges have been making mistakes - they've been allowing bail to be granted to people seeking asylum who are caught past the border".

Asylum seekers who presented themselves at legal ports of entry were already unable to be released on bond by immigration courts. The Flores case was the basis for court rulings last summer that compelled the administration to abandon its policy of family separation for asylum seekers, imprisoning the parents while sending the children into juvenile detention or foster care. On top of the fact that those in ICE detention centers receive such horrific treatment that they go on hunger strikes (and are then force-fed), the fact that Barr's decision could feed America's ethically bankrupt prison-industrial complex is disturbing. It also will not affect unaccompanied minors.

He said he's going to delay the effective date of his decision for 90 days. "I'd be very surprised to see a court overturn it". "Our Constitution does not allow the government to lock up asylum seekers without basic due process. I find it perverse that we mandate detention (f***ing jail!) for what is at best a civil offense and is more aptly a place-of-birth violation".

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"Not only does the administration lack the legal authority to transfer detainees in this manner, it is shocking that the president and senior administration officials are even considering manipulating release decisions for purely political reasons", they wrote.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Well, before this decision was announced, standard policy was that asylum seekers in detention could ask for a bond hearing.

According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) - agency responsible for detaining and deporting immigrants in the country illegally - the average daily population of immigrants in detention was over 46,000 for the 2019 fiscal year.

US Attorney General William Barr's decision means more migrants can be indefinitely detained while they wait for their cases to be heard. Sessions resigned from his position in November, leaving the case to Barr to decide.

A federal appeals court late last week lifted an injunction on the administration's relatively new "Migrant Protection Protocols", which will see some asylum seekers wait out their cases in Mexico instead of the U.S. These migrants know they can seek asylum under federal law and be released into the country pending court hearings about their claims, The Washington Post reported earlier this month.

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