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Detention of asylum seekers temporarily halted

Georgia residents interested in immigration issues may know that a Washington, D.C., court ordered that the Immigration and Enforcement agency detention of children and their mothers seeking asylum be halted. The policy is supported by the current administration and was put into effect by a presidential executive order.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the policy in December 2014. According to the ACLU, the administration enacted the ruling to let other immigrants know that illegally seeking asylum was discouraged, and the ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of children and mothers who entered the country illegally. The children and their mothers who were detained said they feared for their safety in their countries and sought immigration status to avoid harm. This policy, the organization said, held individuals without proving that they were at risk of flight or dangerous. Detaining someone without cause is denying him or her their liberty, they argued.

The federal court agreed and stopped ICE from implementing the no-release policy for the time being. The court ruling prevents governmental action that put families in detention. The policy was implemented after many illegal immigrants crossed the border in the summer of 2014.

Individuals who are detained may be unaware of their rights under U.S. immigration law. The laws are modified occasionally to reflect circumstances that occur or change during certain periods. In such situations, talking to an immigration attorney familiar with the laws may be beneficial. The attorney may review an immigrant's case to determine if there are predisposing reasons to detain the individual. As in this case, the attorney may present arguments to the court asking that such detention be lifted. The attorney may also help by assisting the immigrant and his or her family with filing for asylum in this country.

Source: Reuters, "Court temporarily halts U.S. policy of detaining asylum-seeking mothers, children," Feb 20, 2015

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