Immigration Law

Scheduling SNAFU Affects First Hearings for 'Remain in Mexico' Returnees

Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune, Mar. 14, 2019

"Two of the three asylum seekers who were supposed to show up for the first immigration court hearings under the “Remain in Mexico” policy did not make it across the border on Thursday to appear.

After the Homeland Security Secretary announced what she called a “historic” program, known officially as Migrant Protection Protocols, in December, many wondered — and worried — about the logistics of shuttling migrants back and forth across the border for court hearings.

... At least one of the people who had been returned to Tijuana after asking for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry missed the court hearings because of what Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Rico Bartolomei called a “glitch” in the scheduling system.

Court cases for the program were supposed to start next Tuesday, but somehow cases got scheduled for this Thursday, Bartolomei explained. At first, the court tried to reschedule those hearings for Tuesday but realized it wouldn’t have a way to communicate that effectively with the asylum seekers in Mexico.

“At the end of the day, we kept the hearings as scheduled,” Bartolomei explained.