US judge orders quicker bond hearings for asylum seekers

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge says the U.S. government must give bond hearings more quickly to immigrants caught on the border who pass initial asylum screenings.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle on Friday ordered immigration courts to conduct the bond hearings within seven days should the immigrants request one.

She also says it’s up to the government to prove why the immigrants shouldn’t be released.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project challenging delays in bond hearings for detained asylum seekers.

Group legal director Matt Adams says the decision could help thousands of detainees. He says some have waited weeks for the hearings after they were interviewed by an asylum officer.

A message was left for the Department of Justice.

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