SAN DIEGO (AP)– Scheduling problems led an immigration judge to reject the Trump administration’s demand to buy four Central American migrants deported since they stopped working to reveal for initial hearings Wednesday in the U.S. while being required to wait in Mexico.
The judge’s rejection was an obstacle for the administration’s highly touted initiative to make asylum candidates wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.
One migrant pertained to court with a notice to appear on Saturday, March 30 and said he later found out that he was expected to appear Wednesday. He reported in the morning to U.S. authorities at the main crossing between San Diego and Tijuana.
” I practically didn’t make it due to the fact that I had 2 dates,” he said.
Similar snafus spoiled the very first hearings last week when migrants who were initially told to show up Tuesday had their dates bumped up numerous days.
Judge Scott Simpson informed administration lawyers to file a quick by April 10 that discusses how it can ensure migrants are correctly informed of appointments. The judge delayed preliminary appearances for the four no-shows to April 22, which raised more concerns about they would learn more about the new date.
Government documents had no street address for the 4 guys in Tijuana and showed that correspondence was to be sent to U.S. Customs and Border Defense. Simpson asked how the administration would notify them.
” I do not have a response to that,” stated Robert Wities, a lawyer for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
At least 2 others were provided notices to appear Tuesday however, when they showed up at the border, were informed by U.S. authorities that they were not on the schedule that day. Their lawyers quickly got new dates for Wednesday but Mexico declined to take them back, requiring them to stay overnight in U.S. custody.
Laura Sanchez, a lawyer for one of the males, stated she called a court toll-free number to validate her client’s preliminary hearing Tuesday but his name didn’t appear anywhere in the system. Later, she learned that it was Wednesday.
Sanchez said after Wednesday’s hearing that she didn’t understand if Mexico would take her customer back. Mexican authorities didn’t right away react to a request for comment.
Homeland Security Department agents did not immediately react to a request for remark late Wednesday.
The snafus came two days before a federal judge in San Francisco hears oral arguments to halt enforcement of the “Migration Defense Protocols” policy in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Hardship Law Center and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.
The policy shift, which followed months of high-level talks in between the U.S. and Mexico, was released in San Diego on Jan. 29 amidst growing varieties of asylum-seeking households from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Mexicans and kids traveling alone are exempt.
Households are generally released in the U.S. with notices to appear in court and stay up until their cases are fixed, which can take years. The brand-new policy aims to alter that by making individuals wait in Mexico, though it is off to a modest start with 240 migrants being sent out back to Tijuana from San Diego in the very first six weeks. U.S. officials say they plan to sharply broaden the policy across the entire border.
Mexican officials have actually revealed concern about what both federal governments say is a unilateral move by the Trump administration however has actually permitted asylum candidates to wait in Mexico with humanitarian visas.
U.S. authorities call the new policy an unprecedented effort that intends to prevent weak asylum claims and reduce a court stockpile of more than 800,000 cases.
A number of migrants who appeared Wednesday stated they fear that waiting in Mexico for their next hearings would endanger their personal security. The federal government lawyer stated they would be talked to by an asylum officer to determine if their issues justified staying in the U.S.
Some informed the judge they had a hard time to find attorneys and were approved more time to find one. Asylum seekers are entitled to legal representation but not at government expenditure.
U.S. authorities give migrants who are returned to Mexico a list of no-cost legal service providers in the U.S. however some migrants told the judge that calls went unanswered or they were told that services were not available from Mexico.
A 48- year-old guy stated under the judge’s questioning that he had headaches and throat ailments. The judge noted that migrants with medical problems are exempt from waiting in Mexico and purchased a medical test.
Associated Press writer Maria Verza in Mexico City added to this report.