DHS Immigration Tent Courts Open to the Public
The Department of Homeland Security has issued new guidance on the U.S.-Mexico border that makes the DHS immigration tent courts open to the public, following months of criticism over a lack of transparency. In August, DHS moved $155 million from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to “establish and operate temporary Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) Immigration Hearing Facilities along the Southwest border,” commonly called immigration tent courts. The Wall Street Journal reported on December 29 that the temporary courts in Brownsville and Laredo, Texas, will be open to the public.
For months migrant advocates have protested the tent courts’ lack of transparency in closing the proceedings to the press and the public. DHS has cited “security concerns” as the reason for the closed hearings. Under the direction of the new acting DHS secretary, Chad Wolf, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued guidance last week instructing officers in Texas to allow journalists and other members of the public inside to observe proceedings. Unlike traditional immigration courts in the United States, journalists, advocates and other members of the public were not allowed to enter the immigration tent courts.
Migrant Protection Protocol
DHS’ Migrant Protection Protocol program sends migrants who enter the U.S. illegally at the southern borders, or who appear at official places of entry along the U.S. border seeking asylum, to return to Mexico to await an American court date. Immigrants claiming asylum under MPP policies must come and go across the border under U.S. custody to attend their hearings the courts in the program, located in San Diego and Texas. Prior to the establishment of MPP in August, most of these migrants were released inside the U.S. to wait for a court date.
Immigration attorney Mario Godoy and the experienced attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Cook and Dupage Counties in Illinois can help you with your immigration case. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at 855-554-6369.