A federal judge has blocked a plan by the Trump administration that would have denied bail to asylum seekers who crossed into the U.S. illegally, according to Bloomberg. The ruling was made in response to a class-action lawsuit brought by asylum seekers.
The plan to keep asylum seekers in prison was a scheme by Trump administration, and Attorney General William Barr specifically, meant to deter those escaping violence and poverty from attempting to enter the U.S.
“It is the finding of this court that it is unconstitutional to deny these class members a bond hearing while they await a final determination of their asylum request,” U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman wrote in her decision.
This order will require immigration courts to conduct a bail hearing for asylum seekers within seven days of a request as long as they can show a “credible fear” of returning to their home country, a standard that has applied for at least 10 years. Judges in these cases will need to provide a reason why the asylum seekers are not being released. They’ll also have to record the proceedings and provide a written transcript.
In April, Barr announced the new policy preventing asylum seekers from requesting bail hearings. The policy was scheduled to go into effect on July 15th, but will now likely be delayed as the case progresses.
“They want to send a message that you will get detained,” Judy Rabinovitz, a deputy director of the Immigrants Rights’ Project at the ACLU, told the New York Times when Barr’s policy was announced. “It’s really obscene. We are talking about people who are fleeing for their lives, seeking safety. And our response is just lock them up.”
It’s expected that the administration will appeal. If it goes to the Supreme Court, it’s unclear what will happen. Earlier this year, the court ruled that asylum seekers aren’t entitled to bond hearings.