Sep 20, 2018

Jeff Sessions could keep asylum-seekers in mandatory detention

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has referred another immigration case to himself for review, and his decision could keep all asylum-seekers caught crossing the border illegally in mandatory detention — even if they've passed their "credible fear" interview.

Why it matters: If Sessions decides that asylum-seekers who establish credible fear do not have a right to a bond hearing, "it will mean tens of thousands of border crossers will now be subject to mandatory detention, which means ICE will need significant new funding in order to house people," immigration lawyer at Holland & Knight and former DOJ attorney Leon Fresco tells Axios.

How it works: If immigrants are caught crossing the border illegally, claim asylum and then prove that they have credible fears of returning to their home countries, they are entitled to a bond hearing.

  • Many of these immigrants are then released into the U.S. until their hearings and their immigration case is completed.
  • Asylum-seekers who are kept in detention have an expedited legal process that lasts around 6 months, while those who are released on bond often wait years before their case is completed.
  • But if everyone receives mandatory detention, it will likely mean detained cases will take even longer to complete — and thousands of asylum-seekers could end up waiting in detention centers for years, Fresco says.
  • Worth noting: Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that asylum-seekers are not entitled to ongoing bond hearings throughout the whole time they are detained.

What's next: Sessions' decision is expected at some point within the next 90 days. If he does change the Board of Immigration Appeal's earlier ruling, he'll face lawsuits from asylum-seekers who are denied a bond hearing. But unless another nationwide injunction is issued, asylum-seekers will be kept in detention until the case is ultimately decided — potentially in the Supreme Court.

Axios reached out to DOJ, which declined to comment.

Go deeper ... Through this same process of referring cases to himself, Sessions has already:

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Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.