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Attorney general's ruling expands indefinite detention for asylum seekers



NEW YORK / SAN FRANCISCO, April 16 (Reuters) – The U.S. Attorney General on Tuesday made a decision that had some asylum seekers to ask for bond in front of an immigration judge, in which expands indefinite detention for some migrants who must wait months or years for their cases to be heard. ] The first immigration court ruling from President Donald Trump's newly appointed Attorney General William Barr is in keeping with the administration's moves to clamp down on the asylum process as tens of thousands of mostly Central Americans cross into the United States asking for refuge. U.S. Immigration courts are overseen by the Justice Department and the Attorney General can rule in cases to set legal precedent.

Barr's ruling is the latest instance of the Trump administration taking a hard line on immigration. This year the administration implemented a policy to return some asylum seekers to Mexico while their cases work their way through backlogged courts, a policy that has been challenged with a lawsuit.

Several top officials at the Department of Homeland Security were forced out this month about Trump's frustrations with an influx of migrant seeking refuge at the US southern border

Barr's decision applies to migrants who crossed illegally into the United States

Typically, those migrants are placed in "expedited removal" proceedings – a faster form of deportation reserved for people who illegally entered the country within the last two weeks and are detained within 100 miles (160 km) of a country border. Migrants who present themselves at ports of entry and ask for asylum are not eligible for bond. But before Barr's ruling, who had crossed the border between official entry points and asked for asylum were eligible for bond, once they had proven to asylum officers they had a credible fear of persecution.

"I conclude that aliens remain ineligible for bond, whether they are arriving at the border or are apprehended in the United States," wrote Barr.

Barr said such people can be held in immigration detention until their cases conclude, or if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decides to release them by granting them "parole." DHS has the discretion to parole people who are not eligible for bonding and frequently does so due to insufficient detention space or other humanitarian reasons. PHOTOS

William Barr through the years

See Gallery [19659014] FILE – In this Nov. Attorney General nominee William Barr is shown on Capitol Hill in Washington. Barr once advised the U.S. Government that could attack Iraq without congressional approval, arrest of deposited foreign dictator and capture suspects abroad without that country's permission. Those decisions reflect a broad view of presidential power that Barr, President Donald Trump's pick to reclaim his old attorney general job, demonstrated at the Justice Department and in the years since. (AP Photo / John Duricka)

U.S. President George H. Bush is a lawyer for a lawyer for a minor garden ceremony, Thursday, Nov. 21, 1991 in Washington, as Vice President Dan Quayle, left, and Acting Attorney General William Barr look on. The bill signing capped a two-year struggle with congress on whether the legislation encouraged job quotas. (AP Photo / Marcy Nighswander)

U.S. President George H. Bush, right, and William Barr wave after Barr was sworn in as the new Attorney General of the United States, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1991 at a Justice Department ceremony in Washington. (AP Photo / Scott Applewhite)

U.S. President George H. Bush gestures while talking to Attorney General William Barr in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, May 4, 1992 in Washington. The President with top domestic Cabinet officers to tackle long-range problems pushed to the forefront at last week's deadly riots in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Marcy Nighswander)

Board member of MCI Telecommunications, Nicholas Katzenbach, second left, speaks at hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on "The WorldCom Case: Looking at Bankruptcy and Competition Issues" on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday, July 22, 2003. Witnesses are, from left, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Verizon Communications William Barr, Katzenbach, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP's Marcia Goldstein, Communications Workers of America President Morton Bahr, National Bankruptcy Conference Vice-Chair Douglas Baird, Cerberus Capital Management Chief Operation Officer Mark Neporent. (AP Photo / Akira Ono)

Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, left, listens as William Redpath, Libertarian Party chairman, answers a question at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007. (AP Photo)

President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr. confirmed. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, left, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee member and Trump confidant Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., On Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr. confirmed. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, arrives to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee member and Trump confidant Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., On Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr. confirmed. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, right, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr. confirmed. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

Attorney General nominee William Barr, left, turns to answer a reporter's question as he arrives to meet with Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., On Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon) HIDE CAPTION

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Barr said he was delaying the effective date at 90 days "so that DHS may conduct the necessary operational planning for additional detention and parole decisions." 19659002] The decision's full impact is not yet clear, because it will depend on DHS 'ability to expand detention, said Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas.

"The number of asylum seekers who will remain in potentially indefinite detention pending disposition of their cases will almost entirely be a question of DHS's detention capacity, and unless the individual circumstances of individual cases warrant release or detention, "Vladeck said.

DHS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision. The agency had written in the case arguing that eliminating bonds for asylum seekers would have "immediate and significant impact on detention operations."

Early March, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the DHS agency responsible for detecting and deporting immigrants in the country illegally, said the average daily population of immigrants in detention to 46,000 for the 2019 fiscal year, the highest level since the agency was created in 2003. Last year, Reuters reported that ICE had Modeling and tooling have been used since 2013 when deciding whether or not an immigrant should be detained or released on the bond, making the process more restrictive.

The decision will have no impact on unaccompanied migrant children, who are exempt from expedited removal. Most families are also paroled because of a lack of facilities to keep parents and children together

Michael Tan, from the American Civil Liberties Union, said the rights group intended to sue the Trump administration over the decision, and immigrant advocates decried the decision

Barr's decision came after form Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided to review the case in October. Sessions resigned from his position in November, leaving the case to Barr to decide.

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York and Kristina Cooke in San Francisco; additional reporting by Yeganeh Torbati in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


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