Sessions eliminates right to hearing for certain asylum seekers

Sessions eliminates right to hearing for certain asylum seekers


originally published by Axios

This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed a decision that gave asylum-seekers and applicants for withholding of removal a right to a full hearing even after deemed ineligible for asylum according to their paperwork. This upended the precedent set by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) four years ago.

Why it matters: This is an attempt to curtail the growing backlog in immigration courts by allowing quicker denials of these kinds of applications without a hearing. Devin O'Malley, a DOJ spokesperson, told Axios the BIA's decision had "added unnecessary cases to the dockets of immigration judges who are working hard to reduce an already large immigration court backlog.”

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What's next: Sessions' move will likely be appealed in a federal court, but while the case is pending, immigration courts could deny hundreds of applicants seeking asylum without allowing a hearing, according to Leon Fresco, former Deputy Assistant A.G. at DOJ’s Office of Immigration Litigation. All of those cases could then be appealed in federal courts until a final decision is made on whether asylum seekers have a right to a full hearing.

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