Attorney General William Barr is just as cruel as Trump.
William Barr, Trump's attorney general, isn't just there to protect Trump from the consequences of the Mueller report. He's also there to ensure that Trump's petty and brutal policies get implemented.
Which is likely why, on Tuesday, Barr issued an order that allows asylum seekers to be detained without bail — indefinitely.
Previously, if asylum seekers came to the United States and could prove they had a "credible fear" of being persecuted if they returned to their home country, they were able to request a bond hearing. If they were granted bond, they were released on bail until their asylum case came up in court.
Now, thanks to Barr, asylum seekers are faced with an absurd, and chilling, situation. Once they pass the first hurdle to asylum — establishing their credible fear of prosecution — they are jailed indefinitely while their asylum claims proceed.
The real goal here is clearly to appease Trump, who hates what he calls "catch and release" — a dehumanizing way to describe allowing immigrants to be released on bond while awaiting their court hearings. Trump insists that those people never come back to court for further proceedings, but that's just not true; the vast majority of immigrants do in fact return for their hearings.
As the ACLU points out, locking asylum seekers up indefinitely without cause denies them due process. These people haven't done anything wrong; they are fleeing violence in their home countries, and are legally seeking asylum under both United States and international law.
But to Trump and Stephen Miller, the white nationalist defining immigration policies right now, they're all criminals.
With this order, Barr is doing what his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, only dreamed of. Sessions did manage to issue an order saying that victims of both domestic and gang violence would not qualify for asylum because they were not directly victimized by their government. But while Sessions tried to make detention mandatory for asylum seekers caught crossing the border, he didn't quite pull it off.
Trump has been purging the Department of Homeland Security and getting rid of anyone who is insufficiently vicious. It looks like he won't need to do a similar purge at the DOJ. He's already got someone running the show there who will do his bidding and harm immigrants at every turn.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.