U.S. Attorney General reverses 2005 decision, making some detained asylum seekers ineligible for release on bond

Attorney General William Barr overruled a 2005 decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that had allowed some aliens to post bond and leave detention after establishing a credible fear of persecution or torture. Barr’s decision, issued on April 16, 2019, held that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and subsequent regulations required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to detain those individuals transferred from expedited to full proceedings unless the secretary of DHS grants temporary parole.
 
When aliens face expedited removal proceedings, DHS enforcement officers are in charge of removing them from the country and those individuals are usually kept in detention until removed. If a detained individual facing expedited removal makes a credible case that he or she will face persecution or torture if sent back to their country of origin, then they are transferred to receive full removal proceedings, which means an immigration judge will decide their case. Barr’s decision denied that aliens transferred from expedited to full proceedings were eligible for release on bond. He argued that the law gives the secretary of DHS the discretion to grant temporary parole for asylum seekers if there is an urgent humanitarian reason like a serious medical condition.
 
At the request of DHS, Barr agreed to delay the effective date of his decision for 90 days because the agency said his ruling would have an immediate, significant impact on detention operations. The case Barr overruled had made a large population of aliens eligible for release on bond. Under Barr’s ruling, this transferred group of asylum seekers will remain in detention while they wait for immigration judges to review their cases. It can take months or even years for immigration judges to decide a given case.
 
The BIA is a 21-member administrative body within the Executive Office for Immigration Review at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). It is responsible for interpreting and applying immigration laws and hearing appeals in immigration cases decided by immigration judges and DHS officials, who are bound by the decisions of the BIA unless the U.S. attorney general or a federal court intervenes. An immigration judge is a kind of administrative judge who presides over special adjudication proceedings involving immigration, including removal decisions.
 
You can read Barr’s decision here: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/file/1154747/download
 



About the author

Jace Lington

Jace Lington is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jace.lington@ballotpedia.org

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