In a legal setback for the Trump administration's immigration policies, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the government may not arbitrarily detain people seeking asylum.
The ruling comes in a case challenging the administration's policy of detaining people even after they have passed a credible fear interview and await a hearing on their asylum claim.
The lead plaintiff in the case is a teacher from Haiti, Ansly Damus, who has been confined in Ohio for more than a year-and-a-half. He fled his homeland fearing violence and political persecution and asked for asylum in the United States. An immigration judge granted him asylum not just once, but twice. But Damus remains locked up indefinitely as the government appeals those decisions.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, in his 38-page opinion, said that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement violated its own procedures by not granting Damus release under what's known as humanitarian parole.
"This Opinion does no more than hold the Government accountable to its own policy, which recently has been honored more in the breach than the observance. Having extended the safeguards of the Parole Directive to asylum seekers, ICE must now ensure that such protections are realized," Judge Boasberg wrote.