In this Dec. 2018 photo, Honduran asylum seekers are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents after the group crossed the U.S. border wall into San Diego, California, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Detained asylum seekers who have shown they have a credible fear of returning to their country will no longer be able to ask a judge to grant them bond. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

In this Dec. 2018 photo, Honduran asylum seekers are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents after the group crossed the U.S. border wall into San Diego, California, seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Detained asylum seekers who have shown they have a credible fear of returning to their country will no longer be able to ask a judge to grant them bond. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

Asylum seekers who show credible fear not eligible for bond

It’s Attorney General William Barr’s first immigration-related decision since taking office.

By Astrid Galvan / Associated Press

PHOENIX — Detained asylum seekers who have shown they have a credible fear of returning to their country will no longer be able to ask a judge to grant them bond.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr decided Tuesday that asylum seekers who clear a “credible fear” interview and are facing removal don’t have the right to be released on bond by an immigration court judge while their cases are pending.

The attorney general has the authority to overturn prior rulings made by immigration courts, which fall under the Justice Department.

It’s Barr’s first immigration-related decision since taking office.

Typically, an asylum seeker who crosses between ports of entry would have the right to ask a judge to grant them bond for release. Under the new ruling, they will have to wait in detention until their case is adjudicated.

“There will be many, many people who are not gonna even have the opportunity to apply for release now,” said Gregory Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Chen said that about 90 percent of asylum seekers pass their credible fear interview, the first step in seeking asylum.

The decision doesn’t affect asylum-seeking families because they generally can’t be held for longer than 20 days. It also doesn’t apply to unaccompanied minors.

Barr’s ruling takes effect in 90 days and comes amid a frustrating time for the administration as the number of border crossers has skyrocketed.

Most of them are families from Central America who are fleeing violence and poverty. Many seek asylum.

There were a total of 161,000 asylum applications filed in the last fiscal year and 46,000 in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees immigration courts.

Talk to us