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Nadler & Lofgren Condemn AG Barr’s Decision to Strip Asylum Seekers Who Pass Credible Fear Screenings of the Right to a Bond Hearing

Washington, D.C. –Today, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) released the following statement addressing Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General William Barr’s decision to overturn current immigration law to strip asylum seekers who pass a credible fear screening of the right to a bond hearing:

“We strongly condemn Attorney General Barr’s order to lock up asylum seekers for years until their pleas for protection are adjudicated, or they give up and are deported back to the persecution they fled. Make no mistake, the Trump administration is on a mission to take apart the asylum system and this order is their latest attempt at denying protection to asylum seekers in violation of U.S. and international law.

“Immigration judges are uniquely qualified to decide whether asylum seekers should be detained because they interact with them every day in the courtroom. By usurping this authority, Attorney General Barr is saying he doesn’t trust judges to carry out Trump’s non-stop attack on people seeking protection. Detention will not deter people from seeking protection when they are fleeing murder and rape. Attorney Barr’s decision is another mistake and does nothing to address the humanitarian challenge unfolding at our southern border.”

Background: Under current regulations, the Attorney General can overturn a pending appeal and issue his own decision.  He can then choose for that decision to act as a precedent for all immigration cases going forward. On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, he did just that when he released Matter of M-S-, 27 I&N Dec. 509 (A.G. 2019), effectively preventing certain asylum seekers from being eligible for bond hearings.

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