In New Effort to Deter Migrants, Barr Withholds Bail to Asylum Seekers – The New York Times

Mr. Barr’s decision could add to the overcrowding crisis in the immigrant detention centers by requiring judges to keep asylum seekers in jail for longer periods. In his 11-page order, Mr. Barr appeared to concede the reality of the problem.

“I will delay the effective date of this decision for 90 days so that D.H.S. may conduct the necessary operational planning for additional detention and parole decisions,” Mr. Barr wrote.

Mr. Barr’s decision does not affect unaccompanied children or families who cross into the United States illegally. A longstanding settlement in a previous court case says that the government cannot detain children or families for longer than 20 days.

But immigrant rights lawyers said that Mr. Barr’s order — if it goes into effect — could set a precedent that the government could use to deny bond hearings, and bail, for an even broader number of immigrants.

“That’s what Trump’s mantra is: End catch and release,” Ms. Rabinovitz said. “What does that mean? It’s human beings. We’re not talking about a game of cat and mouse.”

Ms. Rabinovitz and other immigration lawyers said they intended to quickly challenge Mr. Barr’s order in federal court, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

The Justice Department declined to comment beyond the text of Mr. Barr’s decision.

Because immigration courts are housed under the Justice Department, not the judicial branch, the attorney general has the authority to refer cases to himself and overturn decisions. Last October, less than a month before he was pushed out of the administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked to review the case, known as the “Matter of M- S-,” to determine whether immigrants with credible asylum claims should be able to post bond and enter the United States.


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