The White House on Wednesday blasted a federal judge in Seattle as being “at war with the rule of law” in response to her blocking an administration plan that would detain thousands of migrants indefinitely while they wait for asylum cases to be heard.
“The decision only incentivizes smugglers and traffickers, which will lead to the further overwhelming of our immigration system by illegal aliens,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “No single district judge has legitimate authority to impose his or her open borders views on the country.”
The order issued Tuesday by Judge Marsha J. Pechman of United States District Court for the Western District of Washington blocked an order issued in April by Attorney General William P. Barr that would have denied some asylum seekers a bail hearing.
Pechman said that was unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction in a class-action lawsuit brought by migrants and their advocates.
“The court finds that plaintiffs have established a constitutionally protected interest in their liberty, a right to due process, which includes a hearing before a neutral decision maker to assess the necessity of their detention and a likelihood of success on the merits of that issue,” Pechman wrote.
In her order, Pechman said migrants seeking asylum must be granted a bond hearing within seven days or be released if a hearing does not occur during that period.
The administration is expected to appeal her decision.
In Grisham’s statement, she referred to Pechman as “a single, unelected district court judge in Seattle” and said the injunction “prevents the government from ensuring the detention of those aliens who cross the border unlawfully until the completion of their immigration court proceedings.”