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Federal judge rules against Trump administration, says asylum-seekers must have the option of being released on bond

Attorney General William Barr had previously issued an order allowing for asylum-seekers to be detained without a bond hearing

Kevin Dietsch/Pool via Bloomberg

A federal judge has ruled against the Trump administration on immigration.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Washington state ruled that asylum-seekers who demonstrate a "credible fear of persecution" were constitutionally obligated to a bond hearing while their claim was being processed, invalidating an order given in April by Attorney General William Barr.

What's the background?

In 2005, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that asylum-seekers who could prove that they might be in danger if forced to leave the U.S. were able to be released on bond.

In April, Barr issued an order stating that even if an asylum-seeker could establish "credible fear of persecution or torture" they could be "detained until [their] normal proceedings conclude, unless [they are] given parole" if they had been "transferred to full removal proceedings" while their asylum claim was being processed.

This order from Barr was blocked by a preliminary injunction from Pechman soon after it was issued.

What did the judge say?

Pechman argued Tuesday, "Plaintiffs have established a constitutionally-protected interest in their liberty, a right to due process which includes a hearing before a neutral decisionmaker to assess the necessity of their detention, and a likelihood of success on the merits of that issue."

She also said that Barr's order could cause "irreparable harm."

In her ruling, Pechman ordered that bond hearings be held for asylum-seekers "within seven days" of being requested.

It also places "the burden of proof on Defendant Department of Homeland Security in those bond hearings to demonstrate why the class member should not be released on bond, parole, or other conditions," instead of having the asylum-seekers have to prove their innocence before they could be released.

All bond hearings will also have to be transcribed or recorded, and reasons for denial or approval will have to be given in writing. This modified injunction takes effect in 14 days.

One last thing…
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