US President Donald Trump’s administration has issued an order that could keep some asylum seekers in jail for months or years as they wait for their cases to be heard, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The order from Attorney General Bill Barr directs immigration judges to no longer allow asylum seekers who are apprehended after entering the country illegally to post bail, the newspaper said.
The order — which will not go into effect for 90 days — does not affect those who apply for asylum at a legal port of entry, the Times reported.
The move was quickly condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union rights organization, which vowed to challenge it in court.
“Our Constitution does not allow the government to lock up asylum seekers without basic due process. We’ll see the administration in court. Again,” the ACLU tweeted.
Trump has staked his presidency on his insistence that the United States is being overrun by migrants and asylum seekers.
But opponents, mostly in the Democratic Party, said his push for building more walls on the Mexican border and his almost daily denunciations of migrants as dangerous criminals incite racial hatred.
The president declared an emergency to bypass Congress and unlock funds for his controversial wall project and has also deployed troops to the border with Mexico.
The White House has also said it is looking into ways to transfer undocumented migrants to so-called sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York that limit cooperation with US immigration officials.