“Jesus Fucking Christ. Impeach Barr. Impeach them all.”
Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday moved to put an end to “catch and release” of migrants who enter the United States illegally, prompting outcry from liberals.
Amid a surge of immigrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, Barr ordered immigration judges to deny such asylum seekers a chance to post bail. Administration officials said the goal was to deter immigrants from entering the United States.
Only immigrants who are caught after illegally crossing the border will be affected by the order, not those who apply for asylum at ports of entry. Migrant families will also be exempt because the Trump administration is barred by a court settlement from holding children for more than 20 days and has opted to stop separating children and adults.
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Still, liberal immigration activists condemned Barr’s order as unjust, saying it could tear apart the growing number of families fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.
“Seeking asylum is a human right, not a crime, and families forced to flee for their lives shouldn’t be treated like criminals,” Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, told the Wall Street Journal. “This appalling decision could also force parents to decide to either be locked up with their children indefinitely, or relinquish custody of them for the duration of their approval process, which could take months or years.”
She called the order “a potential backdoor way for the administration to separate families.”
The American Civil Liberties Union deemed it unconstitutional and vowed to mount a challenge in federal court.
BREAKING: Attorney General William Barr tonight directed immigration judges to deny bond hearings to asylum seekers.
Our Constitution does not allow the government to lock up asylum seekers without basic due process.
We'll see the administration in court. Again.
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 17, 2019
In case you were waiting until Thursday to decide if Bill Barr is horrible, you can stop waiting. We have all the confirmation we need. "Barr’s order directed immigration judges to no longer allow some migrants who have sought asylum from posting bail."https://t.co/0J17jDmYUo
— Jed Shugerman (@jedshug) April 17, 2019
William Barr is a disgrace. Period. https://t.co/bCrr0blPsk
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) April 17, 2019
Jesus Fucking Christ. Impeach Barr. Impeach them all. https://t.co/CqTDpSzqNy
— Elizabeth C. McLaughlin (@ECMcLaughlin) April 17, 2019
However, Trump recently exposed some liberal ambivalence about releasing immigrants by warning Monday that he would start transporting “Illegal Immigrants who can no longer be legally held” to mostly Democratic “sanctuary cities.”
“It’s illegal. It is just plain illegal. We will meet him in court. We will beat him in court,” de Blasio said.
The backlash was joined by Democratic presidential candidates, like Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who said Trump was making Americans “less safe.”
Barr’s ruling on bail, made in his capacity as overseer of immigration courts, was the Trump administration’s latest effort to address the crisis at the southern border. It has previously slowed processing of the asylum applications at ports of entry, the large majority of which are eventually denied, and ordered that some asylum seekers wait in Mexico.
Trump and his top aides have repeatedly complained about the decade-old practice of releasing “credible” asylum seekers on bail while they wait for their cases to be heard, oftentimes for months or years. A large minority of migrants do not show up for their court hearings.
At a rally last month, Trump called asylum claims a “con job.”
Barr delayed implementation of his order for 90 days to give the Department of Homeland Security time to prepare. The government has said it no longer has space to detain most of the thousands of immigrants arriving each day at the southern border and is running out of money to drive them to jail.
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