Asylum seekers who show credible fear not eligible for bond

Detained asylum seekers who have shown they have a credible fear of returning to their country will no longer be able to ask a judge to grant them bond

PHOENIX -- Detained asylum seekers who have shown they have a credible fear of returning to their country will no longer be able to ask a judge to grant them bond.

Its Barrs first immigration-related decision since taking office. The American Civil Liberties Union said late Tuesday that the plan was unconstitutional and that it planned on suing.

Typically, an asylum seeker who crosses between ports of entry would have the right to ask a judge to grant them bond for release. Under the new ruling, they will have to wait in detention until their case is adjudicated.

There will be many, many people who are not gonna even have the opportunity to apply for release now, said Gregory Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Chen said that about 90 percent of asylum seekers pass their credible fear interview, the first step in seeking asylum.

The decision doesnt affect asylum-seeking families because they generally cant be held for longer than 20 days. It also doesnt apply to unaccompanied minors.

Barrs ruling takes effect in 90 days and comes amid a frustrating time for the administration as the number of border crossers has skyrocketed. Most of them are families from Central America who are fleeing violence and poverty. Many seek asylum.

There were a total of 161,000 asylum applications filed in the last fiscal year and 46,000 in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees immigration courts.

This has been a really unprecedented use of power to influence the immigration system, Pierce said.