Asylum seekers detained after entering the United States are entitled to prompt and fair credible fear interviews and, for those found to have credible asylum claims, bond hearings. This case challenges the punitive practice of keeping asylum seekers in custody for weeks or months without access to credible fear interviews or bond hearings and the lack of basic procedural protections—like hearing transcripts and written decisions—in bond hearings, as well as whether asylum seekers must bear the burden of proof in bond proceedings.
The case was filed as a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Washington. In December, the district court judge rejected the Defendants’ attempt to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds, and in March, the court certified two nationwide classes of certain individuals seeking credible fear interviews and post-credible fear interview bond hearings. Plaintiffs are represented by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the American Immigration Council.
On April 5, 2019, the court ordered the government either to provide qualifying individuals with bona fide asylum claims with a bond hearing before an immigration judge within seven days of their request or to release them from detention. The court further ordered that, at those bond hearing, the government must justify continued detention, record all bond hearings and produce the recording or transcript on appeal, and produce a written decision with particularized determinations of individualized findings at the conclusion of the bond hearing. The government has 30 days to implement these measures.