A fedearl judge ruled Tuesday that the US Department of Homeland Security cannot hold migrants seeking asylum indefinitely as was previously ordered by Attorney General William Barr.
Judge Marsha Pechman of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington held that section 235(b)(1)(B)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits releasing on bond persons who have been found to have a credible fear of persecution in their home country, violates the US Constitution. Pechman’s decision explained that the plaintiffs in the case have established that asylum seekers have “a constitutionally protected interest in their liberty” and a “right to due process, which includes a hearing.”
Granting a preliminary injunction, Pechman ordered the Department of Homeland Security to arrange for asylum seekers to have a bail hearing within seven days of their initial request. If a hearing is not provided within seven days, then the individual must be released.
The case factors into the Trump administration’s attempt to limit the entry of asylum seekers into the US. Pechman noted that the government will likely appeal the decision. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “No single district judge has legitimate authority to impose his or her open borders views on the country,” adding that the injunction was “at war with the rule of law.”