- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The White House lashed out Wednesday against a federal judge who ruled that asylum-seekers must be given a chance to make bond and be released while their cases are heard, calling it a decision “at war with the rule of law.”

Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Judge Marsha Pechman, a Clinton appointee to the bench in western Washington state, ignored clear law in ordering a blanket policy for asylum-seekers.

Judge Pechman also ruled unconstitutional a law passed by Congress allowing asylum-seekers to be held while awaiting a determination in their cases.

“The district court’s injunction is at war with the rule of law,” Ms. Grisham said in a statement. “The decision only incentivizes smugglers and traffickers, which will lead to the further overwhelming of our immigration system by illegal aliens.”

Judge Pechman’s decision likely affects thousands of migrants who jumped the border, demanded asylum and then hoped to gain quick release. Most will not qualify for asylum and eventually will be ordered deported — but many will ignore those orders and disappear into the shadows.

The Trump administration had moved to try to keep more of them in detention, since they can almost always be deported if they’re being held.

Government lawyers argued the asylum-seekers are “excludable aliens” who have only the rights Congress specifically granted to them.

Judge Pechman, though, ruled that asylum-seekers are “non-arriving aliens” who are entitled to full due process rights — including the right not to face indefinite civil detention.

She ordered bond hearings within seven days for the asylum-seekers, and said the presumption is for release, unless the Department of Homeland Security can make a strong case against it.

Her decision is the latest in a long string of legal setbacks for President Trump’s immigration policy, including rulings blocking his sanctuary city crackdown, his attempts to increase standards for claiming asylum, last year’s zero-tolerance border policy, attempts to end Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of migrants, and the president’s 2017 effort to phase out the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty for “Dreamers,” immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.

The Supreme Court said last week it would take the case involving DACA, while the other cases are being fought out in lower courts.

The high court also dealt a blow last week to Mr. Trump’s goal of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, rejecting his administration’s explanation for why it wanted to add the question after a 70-year hiatus.

Mr. Trump has been fierce in his criticism of the judges — most of them Democratic appointees — who have stood in his way.

Ms. Grisham said Wednesday that the trend cannot continue.

“No single district judge has legitimate authority to impose his or her open borders views on the country,” the press secretary said. “We must restore our democracy and ensure Americans have the voice to which they are entitled under our Constitution.”

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