Remote Hearings Hurt Asylum Seekers‘ Cases. The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Made Them the Norm.
In the weeks before coronavirus concerns were sweeping the state, the Trump administration was rolling out a pilot program in Houston that would use video hearings to speed up proceedings for immigrant children and help reduce a record backlog of more than 1.1 million cases nationwide. In early March, when the program began, unaccompanied children, interpreters, and attorneys appeared in downtown Houston for proceedings. Arguments were streamed to Judge Sirce Owen in Atlanta, who, like all immigration judges across the country, has been under pressure from the Justice Department to resolve cases within a tight sixty-day time frame. With the threat of deportation looming over them, many children—some as young as five and without legal counsel—had difficulties understanding the complexities of the asylum process over…View Original Post
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Source: Texas Monthly