Attorney General William Barr Releases Immigration Decision Ordering Judges to Prevent Migrant Asylum Seekers From Posting Bond While Awaiting Trial

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Attorney General William Barr released an immigration decision applying to migrants who have established “a credible fear of persecution or torture” in their home country. The decision orders immigration judges to prevent migrant asylum seekers from posting bond while awaiting trial. President Donald Trump has criticized the former immigration policy allowing the posting of bond as a “catch and release” system. The American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project claims that “this decision will result in the unlawful jailing of thousands of people who should not be behind bars.”

Attorney General Barr’s written decision applies to migrants who crossed the border illegally into the United States. Said migrants are typically placed in expedited removal proceedings, reserved for migrants who entered the country illegally within the last two weeks and detained within 100 miles of a land border. Bond is not available for migrants who seek asylum at ports of entry. Prior to Attorney General Barr’s decision, asylum seeking migrants who crossed the border between official entry points were eligible for bond after establishing “a credible fear of persecution or torture” in their home country.

The decision holds that said migrants may be held in immigration detention until the conclusion of trial or if the Department of Homeland Security releases said migrants by granting parole. The order will not go into effect for 90 days. The decision does not impact unaccompanied migrant children, as they are exempt from expedited removal proceedings. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the average daily population of immigrants in detention is over 46,000 people for the 2019 fiscal year.

Additional Reading

Barr to withhold bail from asylum seekers in latest border crackdown

Matter of M-S-, Respondent, 27 I&N Dec. 509 (A.G. 2019)