Thomas Gallatin / April 18, 2019

Barr: No Bail for Asylum Seekers

AG orders DHS to enforce the law as written, which means no bond for illegals crossing the border.

One of the greatest pull factors for illegal immigration is the practice of “catch and release,” where illegal aliens, upon apprehension after crossing the border illegally, request asylum and are released into the U.S. with instructions to return for a court date once their request has been processed. Yet as has often been reported, many of these illegals never return for their hearings.

President Donald Trump continues seeking ways to stop the flow of illegal immigration in spite of being repeatedly rebuffed by Democrats and left-leaning courts. The latest attempt is Attorney General William Barr’s announcement of a new asylum policy that directs the Department of Homeland Security to deny bond hearings to all aliens who illegally entered and requested asylum. The Justice Department explained that Barr was simply acting to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act to the letter of the law.

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey wonders about the timing: “It’s also curious that the White House took this step so soon after the departure of Kirstjen Nielsen and Claire Grady. Were they opposed to the policy? Or perhaps prepared to be too lenient with paroles?”

In any case, former Bush administration Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, himself a legal immigrant, supported Barr’s decision. “This is not part of some grand scheme against immigrants coming into the United States,” Yoo said. “It’s a very narrow thing the attorney general has done. He has the power to overrule immigration judges. Immigration judges have been making mistakes — they’ve been allowing bail to be granted to people seeking asylum who are caught past the border.”

Yoo added, “Asylum seekers have to show what they call a well-founded fear of persecution back in their home countries. The problem for all these people coming from Central America — they’re fleeing for economic reasons. They’re not fleeing because the government is persecuting them.”

Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union immediately challenged the legality of Barr’s decision, arguing that it is an unconstitutional breach of “basic due process” and that it will see “the administration in court. Again.” However, going by the law and precedent, it appears that Barr is the one standing on more solid legal ground than the ACLU.

Either way, Trump is clearly seeking to force Congress into action. Sitting on the sidelines while a massive border crisis is unfolding doesn’t play well with the American people.

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