Attorney General William Barr has been following in the footsteps of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who certified a various Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) cases to himself for review. In this way, Sessions was able to shape immigration policy and overruling existing precedent. Recently, Barr decided a case entitled Matter of M-S-, which effectively overruled an existing precedent found in the case of Matter of X-K-. In M-S-, Barr issued a ruling that effects non-citizens transferred from expedited removal proceedings to regular removal proceedings after establishing the preliminary finding necessary to seek asylum or a credible fear of persecution or torture. In the decision, Barr determined on behalf of the BIA that these individuals are not entitled to release on bond, which subjects them to indefinite mandatory detention.
Before this ruling, individuals seeking asylum who met the preliminary credible fear finding often were released with their families and await their asylum hearing dates. Now, these individuals may remain indefinitely detained and separated from their families. Since asylum proceedings often can take years, mandatory detention without the opportunity to be released on bond could stretch for years, as well.
Additionally, the Trump Administration now is requiring that some individuals seeking asylum must remain in Mexico due to a lack of room in detention centers. This BIA decision, which requires more individuals to stay in detention indefinitely, only compounds the overcrowding problem. Less than two months following the issuance of the Matter of M-S- decision, the Office of the Inspector General advised that due to severe overcrowding in at least one Texas detention facility, it was recommending that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) take immediate action to address the overcrowding problem. The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the cases of countless individuals and businesses who are facing all types of immigration concerns. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.