Another Blow to Asylum Seekers: Attorney General Strips Their Eligibility for Bond

On April 16, the Attorney General (AG) issued a decision in an asylum case, ruling that asylum seekers who entered between ports of entry – even if they establish a credible fear of persecution – are no longer eligible for release on bond by an immigration judge. The decision sweeps aside long-standing court precedent and will make it much harder for asylees to prove their claims or access legal counsel. Now, asylum seekers must request release at the discretion of ICE, who is unlikely to do so.  In issuing this decision, the administration is attempting to expand mandatory detention even though it has a choice not to detain these asylum seekers. The law provides that asylum seekers can be released from detention if they do not possess a flight risk or threat to the public safety.  Not only does the decision impact asylum seekers but it threatens the independence of immigration judges.  The AG delayed implementation of his decision for 90 days to give DHS time to plan for additional detention facilities. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and other organizations plan to challenge the decision.