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Two new moves at border could change way immigration courts run

Fence along the U.S./Mexico border in Santa Teresa, N.M. (Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)

Two new moves from Attorney General Jeff Sessions could change the way immigration courts run.

One is a ruling and the other is a possible ruling, but both put tighter controls on immigration courts and affect the way they deal with those who come to the U.S. / Mexico border without documentation.

In the first ruling, Sessions ruled that immigration judges cannot use their own discretion to dismiss a case.

That means immigrants’ cases can only be dismissed if the Department of Homeland Security decides to no longer pursue the case, or the immigrant proves a legal right to stay in the U.S.

In the second move, Sessions referred himself to a case that would consider changing the way courts deal with asylum seekers. Those are people who come to the border seeking refuge from their home countries.

Under the current rule, asylum seekers are allowed to stay in the U.S. and are entitled to a bond hearing and potential release from custody if they can pass an interview showing credible fear of their home country.

If Sessions overturns that 2005 ruling, CNN reports that the tens of thousands of asylum seekers could be kept in detention while their cases are being heard.

Before Sessions makes a decision on the second move mentioned above, he is inviting any member of the public to submit arguments to him.

He’ll accept those arguments until Oct. 16 as long as they don’t exceed 6,000 words.

Arguments can be sent to AGCertification@usdoj.gov and the following address:

United States Department of Justice

Office of the Attorney General, Room 5114

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

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