THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - July 5, 2018
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*-- Judge rules DHS must individually decide asylum-seeker parole cases --*
A federal judge Monday ordered the Department of Homeland Security to determine whether to grant asylum-seekers parole from immigration detention on an individual basis.
Judge James Boasberg, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled the DHS had been making blanket detention decisions and he issued a nationwide preliminary injunction requiring the department to abide by a 2009 directive issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, requiring each case be ruled individually.
"To mandate that ICE provide these baseline procedures to those entering our country -- individuals who have often fled violence and persecution to seek safety on our shores -- is no great judicial leap," Boasberg wrote. "Rather, the issuance of injunctive relief in this case serves only to hold defendants accountable to their own governing policies and to ensure that plaintiffs receive the protections they are due under the Parole Directive."
The ruling came as a result of a class-action lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union filed on behalf of nine asylum seekers who were denied parole despite being found to have "credible fear" of persecution in their home countries.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions placed tighter restrictions on asylum claims last month, ordering immigration judges to no longer grant asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence.
Boasberg said the plaintiffs cited statistics showing parole rates had "plummeted from over 90 percent to nearly zero" in in Los Angeles, Detroit, El Paso, Philadelphia and Newark, the locations they were being detained.
"Although Benjamin Disraeli decried 'lies, damn lies, and statistics,' the numbers here are irrefutable," Boasberg wrote. "The dramatic departure in parole-grant rates from years past has not been explained in any way by Defendants."
Michael Tan, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project praised the ruling in a statement Monday.
"This ruling means the Trump administration cannot use indefinite detention as a weapon to punish and deter asylum seekers," Tan said.
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