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Federal Court Rules that Mandatory Detention Violated Due Process

New York Asylum Attorney

Federal Court rules that mandatory detention violated due process of the asylum seeker in severe rebuke to the government’s policies

The Trump administration’s efforts to apply harsh treatment to valid applicants for political asylum are being tempered by the Federal courts. In a recent decision relating to an asylum applicant who had been detained for nearly three years without a bond hearing, a federal judge ruled that the Department of Homeland Security violated the due process rights of the foreign national asylum seeker by refusing to afford him the right to apply for release. Within the decision was criticism administration’s immigration crackdown on asylum seekers on the southern border and those individuals are still entitled to constitutional rights.

The decision allowed an asylum seeker who had been detained for an extended time to seek his release through a bond hearing while his asylum application is being considered. The government does not have unfettered right to detain such applicants without an end to their detention. In reaching his decision, Judge Alvin Hellerstein incorporated severe language relating to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, according to The New York Times. “This nation prides itself on its humanity and openness with which it treats those who seek refuge at its gates… By contrast, the autocracies of the world have been marked by harsh regimes of exclusion and detention” states Judge Alvin Hellerstein in his decision.

The applicant in the case crossed the border in 2016 and sought political asylum from his native Ivory Coast. He has been detained since his apprehension. Although he sought political asylum and was found by an Immigration Officer to have a “credible fear” of persecution from his native country, his application for political asylum has been pending ever since all the while he has been detained in an immigration facility. He maintained that his indefinite detention without an opportunity for bond violated his right to “due process” under the Fifth Amendment. The Trump Administration believes that it can detain indefinitely those that cross the border. That view was also supported by a Supreme Court issued earlier this year holding that detained asylum applicants are not entitled to periodic bond hearings, even for those whose cases have continued and remain in detention for years. Judge Hellerstein’s ruling addressed Constitutional requirements and reached its contrary decision based on a violation of due process. The court considered “whether an indefinitely lengthy detention of a nonresident alien seeking asylum without a bond hearing violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” The ruling gives hope to those asylum applicants who cross the border that they cannot be detained for years without any rights of release.

Although the ruling applied to a single individual, the presiding Judge through his language issued broad criticism of current policies relating to asylum seekers. Acknowledging that those entering the country may have limited constitutional rights, the Judge still found that some rights exist and the government cannot abrogate those limited rights.

The decision is a rebuke to the efforts to stymie illegal immigration and the government’s efforts to limit asylum seekers. The Trump Administration has sought to detain those crossing our borders for longer periods in an effort to send a message to those that may later come and seek political asylum. Recently the President issued another presidential proclamation seeking to deny asylum to immigrants who crossed the border illegally rather than at a port of entry. This would be the case irrespective of whether they a valid claim to political asylum. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions further sought to limit claims of political asylum for those that were victims of gang violence and domestic violence. The administration’s efforts to harshen the laws have been opposed by the courts.

New York Asylum Attorney

New York immigration lawyer Jennifer Oltarsh provides immigration law services from green cards to deportation, to citizenship. Call us at (212) 944-9420.  If you or a loved one are in need of immigration services call Oltarsh & Associates today.