Kirsters Baish’s Opinion| On Tuesday, Clinton-appointed federal United States District Judge Marsha Pechman reportedly blocked an order made by Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr which said that those immigrants seeking asylum can be detained by US Border patrol agents indefinitely.
According to the Hill, “U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Washington state wrote that it was ‘unconstitutional’ to deny asylum-seekers a bond hearing while they wait for their asylum claims to be processed.”
“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,” Pechman’s ruling read.
Pechman had previously issued a preliminary injunction earlier in the year which required that all asylum-seekers who have a hearing in their proceedings will be released within a week following their specific hearing being granted.
The Hill reports:
The Trump administration had asked her to dismiss that ruling after Barr issued his new asylum order. But Pechman rejected the request in her order on Tuesday, finding that the policy implemented by Barr’s order was unconstitutional.
The attorney general had written in the order, issued in April, that asylum-seekers who are able to demonstrate a “credible fear” and are sent to full deportation proceedings cannot be released on bond.
That directive overturned a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2005 that found asylum-seekers could be released on bond if they are able to exhibit they have credible fear of persecution or danger if they leave the U.S.
“I conclude that such aliens remain ineligible for bond, whether they are arriving at the border or are apprehended in the United States,” AG Barr had written at the time, “invoking a statute included in the Immigration and Nationality Act,” according to the Hill.
The Clinton-appointed judge stated that she had adjusted her original injunction in order to require that those seeking asylum who were impacted be released. She also spoke on AG Barr’s order, saying that the new injunctions would be enacted within two weeks of being decided upon.
“The Court finds that Plaintiffs have established a constitutionally-protected interest in their liberty, a right to due process which includes a hearing before a neutral decisionmaker to assess the necessity of their detention, and a likelihood of success on the merits of that issue,” Pechman penned.
“All the harms attendant upon their prolonged detention cited in the original ruling on Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief remain applicable here – substandard physical conditions, low standards of medical care, lack of access to attorneys and evidence as Plaintiffs prepare their cases, separation from their families, and re-traumatization of a population already found to have legitimate circumstances of victimization,” the ruling says.
According to the Hill, “Pechman also pushed back against the administration’s argument that the potential harm was ‘speculative,’ saying that those claims ‘lack substance.’ However, she said she didn’t believe that the asylum-seekers would win by alleging that Barr violated federal administrative law with his order. The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment. Several immigration groups had challenged the policy in court on behalf of the asylum-seekers.”