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Adjustment of status: Attorney general issues orders re asylum

Many immigrants in Florida did not arrive in the United States with all their paperwork in order. Like tens of thousands of other immigrants, some entered the U.S. between ports and immediately sought an adjustment of status through asylum when immigration patrol officers apprehended them. In the past, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents would release asylum-seekers from detention while their cases were being processed.

In the near future, that could change. Attorney General William Barr has a ruling that may take effect after 90 days. The new ruling overrides a previous ruling from 2005 that the Board of Immigration Appeals made, which stated that immigrants seeking asylum who entered the U.S. between ports of entry were entitled to both parole and bond hearings to secure release from detention before their cases were fully adjudicated.

Attorney General Barr's ruling, however, cites a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision that stated that, when the law mandates detention of undocumented immigrants who arrived between ports and then sought asylum, they are not eligible for bond hearings. The new ruling greatly conflicts with a federal judge's recent class-action ruling that stated that bond hearings must be held within seven days of passing a screening interview, which is typically a first step toward obtaining asylum. The federal judge's ruling was delayed for appeal, and the attorney general issued the new precedent in the meantime.

Families may not be held in detention indefinitely, so the new protocol would mainly affect single adults seeking asylum, who arrived in the United States between ports of entry. Adjustment of status issues like this one can be complex and confusing to understand. Any man or woman in Florida with legal questions about this or any other immigration issue can reach out for support by requesting a meeting with an experienced immigration law attorney.

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