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Federal Appeals Court Upholds Block on Trump Policy That Arbitrarily Jails Asylum Seekers

March 27th, 2020

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Matt Adams, Legal Director, NWIRP
(206) 957-8611,

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU
(347) 514-3984,

Maria Frausto, American Immigration Council
(202) 507-7526,



SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a ruling blocking a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The case is Padilla v. ICE.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, American Immigration Council, and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the policy, which targeted asylum seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled.

Many such people currently have the right to a bond hearing where an immigration judge will decide if they should be held or released from custody as their asylum case proceeds. A federal court blocked the policy in July, and the administration appealed.

The following reactions to today’s ruling are from:

Matt Adams, legal director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project: “The court’s decision upholds a fundamental right protecting people from arbitrary detention. In this case we are talking about people who are entitled to apply for asylum, who would otherwise be locked up for generally six months or longer when they do not present a flight risk or danger to the community.”

Trina Realmuto, directing attorney of the American Immigration Council: “Try as it may, this administration cannot ignore the fact that the Constitution applies to class members. The court’s ruling protects them from being locked away without due process. It preserves the constitutional right to a bond hearing.”

Michael Tan, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project: “The courts again found that this policy unconstitutionally strips people of their right to a hearing. The Trump administration cannot bypass the Constitution by arbitrarily locking people up.”

You can read the ruling here