•   
  •   
  •   

US Immigration Tent Courts at Border Raise Due-Process Concerns

04:05  15 december  2019
04:05  15 december  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

US Postal Service creates new stamp to raise money for veterans with PTSD

  US Postal Service creates new stamp to raise money for veterans with PTSD The USPS announced a new semipostal stamp that will help raise funds for people who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The USPS announced Monday that it has issued a semipostal stamp that will help raise funds for people who have been diagnosed with post-tra The stamp features a photographic illustration of a green plant sprouting from the ground covered in fallen leaves, intended to symbolize the PTSD healing process.

That has raised due - process complaints from immigrant -rights advocates and the union representing immigration judges. Inside a large wedding-style tent , the government has converted shipping containers into temporary courtrooms, where flat screens show the judge and a translator, who are in

SAN ANTONIO — The immigration court judge stared at his long docket list on Thursday morning and told the officer he was ready to hear the next case. No one inside the small courtroom made a move. All the action was happening up front on a large flat-screen television.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Asylum seekers waited in line to attend their immigration hearings on the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros.© : Veronica G. Cardenas for The Wall Street Journal Asylum seekers waited in line to attend their immigration hearings on the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas—Each morning well before sunrise, dozens of immigrants line up on the international bridge here to enter a recently erected tent facility at the U.S. border.

Inside a large wedding-style tent, the government has converted shipping containers into temporary courtrooms, where flat screens show the judge and a translator, who are in front of a camera in chambers miles away.

The tents, which appeared at ports of entry here and up the Rio Grande in Laredo in late summer, are the latest manifestation of the Trump administration’s evolving response to a surge of migrants seeking asylum at the southern border.

Border arrests fell in November for sixth consecutive month, data shows

  Border arrests fell in November for sixth consecutive month, data shows Mark Morgan, the acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said tighter asylum rules and foreign partnerships have slashed migration numbers 70 percent since the peak of the border crisis in May.The number of people U.S. authorities took into custody fell nearly 6 percent from October to November, to 42,649, the latest figures show. Arrests have dropped 70 percent since May, when U.S. authorities detained 144,116 amid a record influx of Central American families.

More immigration judges will begin conducting hearings over video conferencing at tent courts along the US-Mexico border , raising concerns among lawyers about transparency in the immigration process .

Additionally, organizations have repeatedly raised due process concerns about the use of VTC, which may not allow judges to We are concerned that the administration has intentionally built these tent courts at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ports of entry to justify limited public access to these

Migrants are ushered to these courts dozens at a time, allowing them access to the U.S. legal system without admitting them onto U.S. soil. They are already part of yet another Trump administration experiment, the Migrant Protection Protocols, which requires migrants to live in Mexico for the duration of their court cases.

Get fresh news and exclusive analysis on politics, policy, national security, regulation and more, delivered right to your inbox

The administration says the tent courts are designed to help the immigration system move more quickly through cases, providing asylum faster for qualified applicants and turning away the rest—many of whom, the administration says, have submitted fraudulent claims.

Parents Stuck In Mexico Are Sending Kids As Young As 4 Across The U.S. Border Alone

  Parents Stuck In Mexico Are Sending Kids As Young As 4 Across The U.S. Border Alone A few times a week, attorney Jodi Goodwin walks across the bridge from Brownsville, Texas, to a refugee camp in Matamoros, Mexico, to meet with asylum-seekers. The forced return to Mexico of migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. is one of President Donald Trump’s most inhumane immigration policies, yet it hasn’t received nearly the attention that his family separation and prolonged detention practices have.

LAREDO, Texas — Tent courts erected at the southern border to hear the cases of thousands of asylum-seekers forced to A DHS official said that while immigration court proceedings are generally open to the public, asylum hearings at the tent facilities were unique from other immigration courts

Immigration advocates say they’re concerned people seeking asylum and other migrants will be denied "They want to ensure that people's due process rights are being protected, and there's no A U.S. Customs and Border Protection tent facility where immigration hearings are held by video

In the past, nearly all families and children arriving at the border were allowed into the U.S. to await hearings. But now, tens of thousands of asylum seekers must wait months in Mexican border cities that have some of the highest crime rates in the Western Hemisphere.

On a recent Friday, Judge Eric Dillow connected with the Brownsville tent via videoconference from his courtroom in Harlingen, Texas, about 30 miles away. The migrants, seated at a folding table, were shown on a large screen.

Judge Dillow planned to hold hearings for 28 migrants that morning, but only 17 appeared at the bridge the requisite four hours before their 8:30 a.m. hearing. Only two brought a lawyer. The rest were read their rights as a group, and when asked if they had questions, none raised their hands.

James McHenry, head of the Executive Office of Immigration Review, the Justice Department agency that oversees immigration courts, said temporary courts adhere to the same procedures and offer the same rights to people as other immigration courts. “In all cases, a well-trained and professional immigration judge considers the facts and evidence, applies the relevant law, and makes an appropriate decision consistent with due process,” he said.

Federal judge blocks Trump plan to spend $3.6 billion in military funds on border wall

  Federal judge blocks Trump plan to spend $3.6 billion in military funds on border wall The ruling deals a blow to the president’s pledge to complete 450 miles of new barriers by the end of 2020.

We are concerned that the administration has intentionally built these tent courts at Customs and Border Additionally, organizations have repeatedly raised due process concerns about the use of VTC Unlike in other immigration courts , attorney observers have not been permitted to access the

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection tent facility where immigration hearings are held by video teleconference is seen in an aerial photo in For Goodwin, her experience inside Brownsville's new makeshift immigration court highlights the concerns advocates like her have been raising about

But immigrant-rights advocates and the union representing immigration judges—who are Justice Department employees—say the unique conditions of the tent courts deny migrants due process by depriving them of meaningful access to lawyers or interaction with judges, making the setup essentially a rubber stamp for deportation.

“It’s a system that’s designed in its entire structure to turn people away,” said Laura Lynch, senior policy counsel with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The judges union has expressed concern over numerous issues: Judges can’t interact with applicants face-to-face, which the union says is important to assess credibility. Immigration court officials aren’t in the tents, which are operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Judges can’t hand migrants documents directly to ensure they contain no errors. Unlike most U.S. courts, the tents are closed to the public and press.

“The space of the court is supposed to be controlled by the court,” said Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. “But the tents, we don’t have any control over.”

ICE Arrests and Deportations From the Interior U.S. Drop in 2019

  ICE Arrests and Deportations From the Interior U.S. Drop in 2019 The decline comes despite a pledge from the president earlier this year that immigration officials would begin removing ‘millions’ of immigrants in the country illegally. The threat sparked fear in immigrant communities and sent families and political leaders scrambling. Authorities in August did conduct a high-profile raid at a group of Mississippi food-processing plants that resulted in some 680 arrests and was said to be the largest such action in a decade. But mass enforcement operations on the scale the president suggested never materialized.

More immigration judges will begin conducting hearings over video conferencing at tent courts along the US-Mexico border , raising concerns among lawyers about transparency in the immigration process .

The courts — located in tent complexes near US Customs and Border Protection ports in Laredo and Democratic leaders, led by Congressional Hispanic Caucus chair Joaquin Castro, raised “We are concerned that the administration has intentionally built these tent court at Customs and Border

Most migrants who cross the border near Brownsville are sent to Matamoros, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande, where they live in shelters or tents near the bridge.

They are returned with little more than a sheet of paper stating their first court date and a list of lawyers to contact. But those contacts aren’t very useful because they have either U.S.-based or toll-free phone numbers that don’t function in Mexico.

Of the 47,313 people whose cases were filed between January and September, only 2.3% have legal representation and only 11 have been granted asylum or other legal status, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which tracks immigration court data.

Pro-bono lawyers who work with these migrants are fearful to travel far beyond the U.S. border into Mexico. Inside the tents, lawyers are typically permitted 15 minutes to meet clients before hearings. In most other U.S. courts, lawyers are free to visit clients, and detention facilities provide more opportunities for meetings.

On two recent days in the tents, migrants appearing alone spent about five minutes each before a judge, while migrants with lawyers took between 20 and 30 minutes each.

“The system is dependent on individuals not finding representation because they can be deported much easier and faster,” said Jeff O’Brien, a California-based immigration lawyer representing several Brownsville clients pro bono. “If everyone had a lawyer, it would essentially come to a halt.”

Medical screenings are the latest US tactic to discourage asylum-seekers, advocates say

  Medical screenings are the latest US tactic to discourage asylum-seekers, advocates say MATAMOROS, Mexico - For three months, Claudia Quesada Rodriguez and her daughter 12-year-old Maria Jose lived in a migrant camp in this Mexican border city waiting for their day in U.S. immigration court. Now it had finally arrived. Mother and daughter woke early Dec. 4 and made their way to the border bridge, where they waited with dozens of other asylum-seekers who also had hearings scheduled at a tent court on the other side.But soon after the two entered the country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff noticed the girl looked ill and took her temperature and a nose swab.

AILA urges Congress to introduce bipartisan legislation that establishes an independent immigration court system, outside the DOJ, under Article I of the Constitution. Listen to a recording of the September 12, 2019, telephonic press briefing on the new port courts and the due process concerns

What kind of due process do undocumented immigrants get? Immigrants ordered to leave the country can fight deportation through civil proceedings Even if immigrants are ordered deported by the immigration appeals board, they can challenge those rulings again in front of a federal court .

Documentation errors are a common hurdle. Applicants’ addresses are often listed on forms as simply “domicilio conocido,” which roughly translates as general delivery, or sometimes a Matamoros shelter that many migrants avoid because they are scared to travel farther into the city.

Tent camp residents also had notices for hearings when courts aren’t open: one at 1 a.m. and another on a Saturday.

It isn’t known how the government notifies these migrants about changes in their cases without valid addresses. Migrants who aren’t at the bridge for hearings are assumed to have abandoned their cases. Government lawyers ask judges to deport absentees—ending asylum requests and barring them from the U.S. for a decade.

Asked about how address discrepancies are handled, a Justice Department spokesman said judges follow the Immigration Court Practice Manual. The manual requires migrants in the U.S. to notify the court of address changes, and in cases where they are detained, it requires the government to notify the court where. Neither scenario applies to migrants in Mexico.

Without lawyers, applicants routinely make paperwork errors—such as submitting documents in Spanish, or documents translated into English without a form certifying the translator is English-proficient—that advocates say they have seen judges use to order them deported.

At a recent hearing in Brownsville, a Honduran woman and her baby daughter appeared before Judge Sean D. Clancy in Harlingen. A CBP officer in Brownsville had faxed the woman’s asylum application to Harlingen, where a clerk handed it to the judge.

“Are you afraid of returning to Honduras?” Judge Clancy asked the woman. A translator beside him repeated the question in Spanish. “Very much,” came the translated reply.

Judge Clancy looked at her application and noted a different response. “One question here says, ‘Do you fear harm if you return to your home country?’ And you checked ‘no.’”

The woman appeared confused. Judge Clancy told her to return to court with a properly completed application on April 15, when a date for her full asylum hearing would be set.

Write to Michelle Hackman at Michelle.Hackman@wsj.com and Alicia A. Caldwell at Alicia.Caldwell@wsj.com

New Trump admin rule would further limit immigrants' eligibility for asylum .
DUIs, drug paraphernalia possession, and unlawful receipt of public benefits would be among seven triggers barring migrants from even applying for asylum.The rule, if finalized, would give asylum officers seven requirements with which to deem an immigrant ineligible to apply for asylum.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 1
This is interesting!