End of Asylum Detention?

On December 16th, 2009, the Obama administration made an announcement that asylum seekers who have a credible fear of persecution in their home countries will no longer be detained. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton says beginning January 4, 2010, asylum seekers can temporarily enter the U.S. provided they meet certain criteria.

Eliciting responses from the Human Rights community, the announcements are being praised as an important step, but many voice continued concern for more just reform. Human Rights First's Eleanor Acer comments, "[The parole guidelines are] a strong first step in addressing the flawed U.S. policies that have led to the extended detention of asylum seekers in the United States... [However], additional reforms are necessary to ensure that asylum seekers are not jailed for extended periods of time... The lack of prompt court review of their detention is inconsistent with this country's commitments under human rights conventions."

See below links to the new parole guidelines documents, news on the announcement, a statement from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, and the press release issued by Human Rights First in regards to the guidelines.

ICE Parole Documents (PDFs)
ICE's fact sheet: Revised Parole Policy for Arriving Aliens with Credible Fear Claims (Dec 16, 2009)
AP: Feds Revising Asylum Detention Policies (NYT, Dec 16, 2009)