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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Scheduling glitch affects first hearings for 'Remain in Mexico' returnees asylum retu

    Scheduling glitch affects first hearings for 'Remain in Mexico' returnees

    Kate MorrisseyContact Reporter

    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.

    The issue was that when the court rescheduled to March 19, anyone who called its toll-free number to check for court date updates thought that the hearings would be on March 19. That happened in the case of one Honduran woman who had Los Angeles-based attorney Olga Badilla representing her.

    Badilla explained to the judge that she had only learned the day before that the hearing had moved back to March 14 and that her client hadn’t found out in time to be at the port of entry at 9 a.m. She arrived a couple of hours later, but Customs and Border Protection officers wouldn’t let her into the U.S. for her hearing.

    “She’s present at the port of entry and ready to come in,” Badilla told the judge, asking for the court’s help. “It’s an unusual situation given the circumstances.”

    Bartolomei turned to the government attorney, Jason Aguilar, chief counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Aguilar said the judge should order the woman deported in her absence.

    Bartolomei denied that motion, saying that the woman had received “insufficient notice” of the hearing. Instead, he scheduled a future date with Badilla to turn in the woman’s asylum application.

    Though the woman was given another chance to show up for court, she ran into more problems down at the border.

    Her permit to stay in Mexico was on the verge of expiring in anticipation of her crossing into the U.S. for court. If she had crossed and returned again, she would likely get a new one. Without entering the U.S., she was about to become deportable from Mexico.

    When court ended for the day, Badilla went to try to help her client.

    The other person who didn’t show up for court, a 24-year-old man from Honduras, had also had his case rescheduled through the court’s glitch.

    ICE attorney Aguilar again moved to have the man ordered deported.

    Bartolomei pushed the ICE attorney about whether it made sense to order someone deported from the U.S. while they are still in Mexico. He asked if it made more sense to consider the person’s application for admission withdrawn.

    According to immigration attorney Tammy Lin, a withdrawal would limit potential restrictions on the man’s ability to come to the U.S. in the future. A deportation order would make it much more difficult for the man to come to the U.S.

    During the conversation, Bartolomei sighed audibly, weighing the options before him.

    Then he decided to reschedule his case for the 19th to see if the man showed up then. Since he didn’t have an address to send the new hearing notice to, he gave it to the Department of Homeland Security to pass on to the man.

    The one person who did show up did not have an attorney. Also from Honduras, the man arrived at El Chaparral plaza outside the port of entry well before 9 a.m. A volunteer from a legal services organization that supports migrants in the plaza every morning before they ask for asylum saw him and escorted him to the gate inside the port that marks the entry to the U.S.

    He waited in line, shuffling down the spiral walkway in a mix of commuters, shoppers and friends returning from trips abroad. When he got to the front of the line, a Customs and Border Protection official held him to the side to wait for the other two who were supposed to come.

    He was nervous, he said.

    A few minutes after 9 a.m., several CBP officers and two plainclothes officials took him into the U.S. Officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement transported him from the port of entry to the office building in downtown San Diego that houses the immigration court.

    He arrived at the court before noon and sat in a corner of the back row of benches, head bowed.

    When it was his turn to face the judge, he spoke softly into the microphone and watched attentively as Bartolomei explained each of the documents he had received.

    Bartolomei asked him if he wanted more time to find an attorney.

    Yes, the man replied.

    The judge granted him another month to try to find someone to help him and told him he would likely be taken back to Mexico again.

    “I know it will be difficult to try to get an attorney from there,” Bartolomei told him, urging him to try his best to find a lawyer to take his case.

    When his turn was over, ICE officers quickly whisked him away, back to the port of entry.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Hear the case via SKYPE at a U.S. Consulate in Mexico.

    We should NOT be paying for their transportation back and forth!

    Taxpayers should not be paying for any of their "claims".

    It is not necessary for them to cross our border.


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