U.S. federal judge prevented a Trump administration policy from implementation Tuesday that allowed for border officials to indefinitely detain asylum seekers without releasing them on bail.
Last April, Attorney General Bill Barr instructed immigration judges to prohibit asylum seekers detained after entering the country illegally to post bail.
Should AG Barr’s order have been implemented on July 15, thousands of illegal aliens could have been held for an indefinite period of time, while immigration officials reviewed their individual cases.
The decision is considered a win for Democrats who have no intention to support a change in the U.S. asylum laws despite the overcrowded conditions at U.S.-Mexico border facilities.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has proposed legislation to change the asylum system and boost the number of days a family can be held together from 20 to 100. Under the current 1997 Flores settlement, the time a minor can be held in custody is restricted to 20 days.
Well, if you look at the Flores case, Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro said at the Democratic presidential primary debates last week.
“It’s a very basic case in terms of basic human rights. So, no, I think that the government should follow the Flores standard. We tried very hard in this order supplemental bill for example to improve the standards by which people are treated,” he added.
However, Obama Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace last year that the Flores decision has only hampered enforcement at the border and made conditions worse.
“Well, we expanded family detention and then we ran into the issue of the Flores case, which you mentioned a moment ago. I disagreed then with the ruling in the Flores case because I think that our border patrol and our immigration enforcement people need those tools available to deal with situations like this,” Johnson said.
Johnson went on to say, “But it’s the sheer matter of numbers, Chris. Right now, we have family detention capability for about 3,000 or 4,000 people, and you’ve got over a thousand migrants crossing the border a day in Central America. And so, even if you emptied it out completely today, it would fill back up in a matter of days.”
The overcrowding in detention cells at the facilities was confirmed by the DHS Office of Inspector General through its publicly released its findings on Tuesday after it finished its inspections of five Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in south Texas in June.
“We are concerned that overcrowding and prolonged detention represent an immediate risk to the health and safety of DHS agents and officers, and to those detained,” the report said.