Judges order expedited bond hearing and block return of asylum seekers to Mexico

Two federal judges issued decisions ordering President Trump's administration to make changes in the way they are processing asylum cases, benefiting some applicants.

U.S. District Judge Richard G. Seeborg ordered the time block to the policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico while they wait for an immigration court in the United States to hear their cases.

For her part, U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman ordered the Government give certain asylum seekers access to bond hearings before an immigration judge within seven days or be released from detention.

Both decisions are in response to different lawsuits filed by immigrant advocacy groups.

Order prevents return of asylum seekers to contiguous territories

The Federal Judge Richard G. Seeborg ruled that the government must suspend the practice of returning asylum seekers to Mexico to await processing of their cases.

According to the judge, the immigration law, which in some circumstances gives the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authority to return certain aliens to a "contiguous territory," does not apply to the plaintiffs in this case or others similarly situated.

In addition, Judge Seeborg ruled that the DHS policy does not provide aliens with sufficient protections in Mexico where they face "undue risk to their lives or liberty".

Judge Seeborg's order does not obligate the Government to release any alien who enters the country illegally within the United States.

DHS retains the legal authority to detain aliens who are in expedited removal proceedings or in immigration court.

Judge Seeborg's order will go into effect on April 12, 2019 to give DHS time to request a stay of the temporary blockade while the federal government appeals the decision.

Bond hearings for certain detained asylum applicants

The federal judge Marsha J. Pechman issued a temporary hold ordering that no later than May 5, 2019, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) do the following:

  1. Provide bond hearings within seven days of a request for a bond hearing for certain asylum seekers and release such persons whose time in detention exceeds that limit.
  2. Require that at a bond hearing DHS demonstrate why certain asylum seekers should not be released on bond, parole, or other conditions.
  3. Record the bond hearing and submit the recording or verbatim transcript of the hearing on appeal.
  4. Produce a written decision with particular determinations of individualized findings at the conclusion of the bond hearing.

The classes of asylum seekers covered by Judge Pechman's order are as follows:

A. Credible Fear Interview Class: all asylum applicants detained in the United States who are subject to expedited removal proceedings who were not provided a credible fear determination within ten days of (1) applying for asylum or expressing a fear of persecution to a DHS official or (2) the conclusion of any criminal proceedings related to the circumstances of their entry, absent a request by the asylum applicant for a delayed credible fear interview.

B. Bond Hearing Class: All detained asylum seekers who entered the United States without inspection, were initially subject to expedited removal proceedings, were determined to have a credible fear of persecution, but are not provided a bond hearing with a verbatim transcript or recording of the hearing within seven days of the request for a bond hearing.


Not all persons are eligible for immigration benefits in the United States, including asylum.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you consult with a licensed and experienced U.S. immigration attorney before traveling to the United States to determine your legal options.

I remind you that notaries, immigration consultants, paper fillers and multi-services cannot give you legal advice.