Attorney General William Barris trying to increase his power and authority over deciding whether or not to deport immigrants with criminal convictions.
On Friday, the people fought back. More than 40 elected state and local prosecutors on Fridaychallenged Barr’s changes to his amount of power and influence.
Barr wants to change immigration rules that defer to state and local decisions on criminal cases that may decide whether an immigrant is deported. He wants more of that power – it’s one of several efforts Barr is making to gain greater authority in deportation cases.
Barr has a long and dangerous history in immigration and in politics overall. Barr is an extremist and favors many of President Donald Trump’s views on immigration. Barr defended the Muslim ban as well as Trump’s recent attempts to limit asylum to those making claims at ports of entry and forcing incoming asylum-seekers to “remain in Mexico.”
In April, Barr also unilaterally revoked the right of asylum seekers who enter the US illegally to ask an immigration judge for release on bond.
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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez told AP News it’s important that the authority stay with state and local prosecutors because they are in the best position to determine the criminal history of someone – not Barr.
Gonzalez’s unit has done important work. The unit has overturned more than 20 convictions, including that of a green card holder convicted of burglary whose case was overturned because the crime never actually occurred. That man could have faced deportation because of the conviction.
“Justice requires careful consideration of the facts of each case,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “This type of evaluation is best done at the local level with a consideration of community needs.”
Gonzalez and other prosecutors filed a brief with the Justice Department on Friday as a first step in their efforts to curb Barr’s power.
The participating prosecutors include attorney generals from seven states, including Minnesota, Washington, Delaware and Nevada, and in 36 urban and rural jurisdictions around the country including counties in Georgia, Maryland, Wisconsin, Texas, Kansas and California, in order to up the fight against Barr.