Long lines of immigrants waited in anticipation outside the walls of immigration courts in 10 cities in the United States. After some time, a lot of them who received information that they were waiting in vain departed the premises.
Immigrants who had official documents and requiring their presence before the judge was more than 100 in number. This led to unnecessary queues of people outside several courtrooms in the US. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) reported that the misled immigrants were informed that court dates had not yet been fixed.
The Association told the public that the occurrence is very disturbing and presents the existing system as impaired. It also reflects the disordered nature of the Trumps Administration towards immigration enforcement. The treasurer of the association, Jeremy McKinney said that considering the situation from a humanitarian aspect, it is appalling and the fact that the lives and emotions of people are being toyed with is outrageous.
According to US attorneys, the trend started in June when the Supreme Court ruled that any notice sent to an illegal immigrant in the country to appear before the immigration court must contain the date and time of proceedings for it to be considered valid. Immigration lawyers have reported from different cities in the country that from that time, it has become common practice among officials to issue out invalid court dates to immigrants, requesting that they appear for hearings that were never slated.
Affected Areas and Persons
The Senior Policy Council of AILA, Laura Lynch observed that news of the invalid dates is widespread in the country and that a lot more immigrants have been affected. She noted that such a mix-up has an immense effect on the average immigrant. According to her, clients travelled several miles, cancelled appointments and took off hours at work all in a bid to meet up for the hearings, which was really a scam. She said it raised anxiety, affected their jobs and their lives.
There were long queues outside immigration courts in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, and San Diego.
An eyewitness in Atlanta, Attorney Jorge Gavilanes told reporters that security officials and the entire court were taken unawares. He said that everyone was searching the cases to find out if they have been documented with the court. He also mentioned such an occurrence wasn’t strange to the court.
In his opinion, the people were afraid of having any issue that might lead to them being deported. They felt better being in court and then sent back than not being there at all.
Lawyers mentioned that in cases where they find out that an immigrant was issued a wrong court date, they have found it difficult to convince them not to be in court as these people are careful to obey every instruction they receive. They try their very best avoid having issues with the ICE or with authorities.
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