The Justice Department’s attempt to deny asylum-seekers bond hearings is “highly problematic,” Immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor told Hill TV, because it allows “the chief prosecutor of the United States to step in, in the middle of judicial proceedings and rewrite the law.”
Attorney General William Barr last week issued an order telling immigration judges not to release asylum-seekers and instead detain them indefinitely while they wait for their court hearings, reversing a 2005 order which said certain migrants who passed a “credible fear” interview could remain in the United States and request release on bond until their case is heard in court.
Barr insisted that only the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to release asylum seekers.
Tabaddor, who is the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said that Barr's decision is another example of why the immigrant court system should work independently of the Justice Department.
Barr’s order to change policy comes amid a legal struggle over the Trump administration’s policy that makes asylum-seekers wait in Mexico while their claims are heard in the immigration court system.
Earlier this month, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the policy, saying it did not defend migrants from danger, but a few days later the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration can temporarily resume returning asylum-seekers to Mexico as it discusses the administration’s appeal to the injunction.
Trump’s policy of returning migrants to Mexico was started in January and is part of his crackdown on the recent influx of migrants at the southern border.