Reporters Shut Out of Immigration Courts

Reporters Shut Out of Immigration Courts

"On July 28, investigative reporter Carroll traveled to the Artesia detention center on the grounds of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) to report the story. In the preceding days she had exchanged emails arranging access with media representatives for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which oversees the facility, and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) within the US Department of Justice, which manages immigration court matters.

But after Carroll arrived at the security gate, she was told she would not be permitted into the immigration hearing. The initial reason given was that Carroll was attempting to access asylum cases, which are generally closed to the public. However, the open docket immigration court cases scheduled for the day likely included a mix of situations. If an asylum case arose, the immigration judge could and would clear the courtroom.

Carroll sent an ICE spokesman an email: “It’s a master calendar hearing. It is open by law. I confirmed with EOIR. Legally, you need to let me in. I gave two days’ notice I was coming. I am not asking for any asylum information from you. I am not asking for a media tour. I am simply requesting access to a court proceeding that is open under the law.”

They did not grant her access." - Michelle Garcia, Columbia Journalism Review, Aug. 13, 2014.