Journalists Blocked from Attending Secretive Immigration Tent Courts

The Trump administration is conducting asylum hearings in makeshift tent facilities by the ports of entry in Laredo and Brownsville for migrants who have been forced to wait months in Mexico under the chaotic Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program.

…Court data show that almost no migrants have …lawyers …[representing] them.

…Over 6,000 migrants who arrived in Laredo have been returned to Mexico under MPP; more than 6,000 in Brownsville have also been sent back across the border. Nationwide, more than 42,000 have been returned. In some cases, they have been sent to the city of Monterrey and even as far as Chiapas, well over 1,000 miles away from the U.S. border. Migrants have faced numerous ordeals in Mexico—everything from homelessness to assault.

…Members of the press are normally allowed to observe immigration court proceedings.

…DHS has kept its port courts shrouded in mystery. …[Reporters] have emailed both DHS and the Department of Justice dozens of times to ask when MPP hearings would begin and whether press would be allowed. They have stubbornly refused to provide information.

…DHS finally provided a statement, in which a spokesperson said the tent facilities “will not be open to in-person public access, including media access.”

Journalists Blocked from Attending Secretive Immigration Tent Courts – The Texas Observer


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