In March 2018, we filed a class action lawsuit against the Trump administration’s arbitrary detention of asylum seekers fleeing persecution, torture, or death in their countries of origin. As our complaint states, we think this practice is improperly intended to discourage asylum-seekers from coming to the U.S. The no-parole rule applies to all asylum-seekers, even those who have gone through a “credible fear screening.” This means that a U.S. asylum officer has determined that their fear of persecution is credible, and that they have a significant possibility of receiving asylum.

In July 2018, U.S. District Judge James A. Boasburg granted provisional class certification and a preliminary injunction blocking this policy. The court noted that “in the past, individuals deemed to have a ‘credible fear’ of persecution and thus a significant possibility of being granted asylum were overwhelmingly released” on parole. But that is no longer true. Relying on “irrefutable” statistics, the court found that “individualized parole determinations are likely no longer par for the course.”

The court therefore prohibited the government “from denying parole . . . absent an individualized determination” that the asylum applicant “presents a flight risk or a danger to the community.” The court emphasized that its order “does no more than hold the Government accountable to its own policy.”

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, Human Rights First, Covington & Burling

Date filed

March 15, 2018