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Attorney General William Barr yesterday ruled in the case Matter M-S- that asylum seekers who illegally cross the border between ports of entry are not eligible for bond and must remain in detention.

Often, migrants who cross the border illegally are initially subject to a faster form of deportation called “expedited removal” under which a judge is not present. Judges conduct the next step -- full removal proceedings – and currently have discretion to issue a bond to asylum seekers who demonstrate a credible fear of persecution to asylum officers.

When Barr’s decision takes effect in 90 days, asylum seekers subject to expedited removal who illegally cross the border between ports of entry will remain in detention until their cases conclude, or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decides to grant “parole” and release them.  DHS can parole those ineligible for bond, including migrants who present themselves at ports of entry, for humanitarian reasons or if there is insufficient capacity to hold them.

General Barr wrote, “The [Immigration and Naturalization] Act provides that, if an alien in expedited proceedings establishes a credible fear, he ‘shall be detained for further consideration of the application for asylum.’…I conclude that such aliens remain ineligible for bond, whether they are arriving at [ports of entry] or are apprehended in the United States.”

The decision does not affect unaccompanied migrant children or “family units.” Most family units are paroled because DHS does not have enough facilities capable of holding parents and children together. However, the Trump administration is working to open two new tent facilities near the southern border that can temporarily detain up to 1,000 parents and children.

Read more in Reuters.

Updated: Wed, May 1st 2019 @ 2:30pm EDT