The Trump Administration is Blocking Public Access to the “Immigration Tent Courts”

According to reporting from the Los Angeles Times, the Trump Administration announced that it will not allow any independent access to the so-called “immigration tent courts” that have been set up in multiple locations along the United States-Mexico border in Texas. Indeed, neither the press, legal observers, no members of the public will be allowed to review the proceedings inside these makeshift facilities. 

Tent Courts May Deny Due Process Rights to Asylum Seekers

Earlier this year, the federal government entered into commercial agreements with private contractors to build temporary “tent” immigration courts in Southern Texas. In September, two new immigration tent courts were opened — one in Brownsville, TX and one in Laredo, TX. The creation of these courts is another consequence and expansion of the Trump Administration’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ protocols for asylum seekers. 

Without basic oversight, there are serious questions about how migrants who are applying for asylum in the United States are being treated within these tent courts. As the federal government openly acknowledged, immigration courts are generally open to the public. To ensure fairness, it is crucial that independent observers have an opportunity to review legal proceedings. Thus far, no legitimate explanation has been offered as to why the tent immigration courts are being closed off to ordinary, independent oversight.   

Laura Lynch, the Senior Policy Counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), explained the problem with these courts succinctly in a comment published by the Los Angeles Times: “this administration is effectively violating its own regulations and blocking public access to immigration court hearings.” No information is being published regarding where specific cases are being heard, when they are being heard, and who is presiding over them. Asylum seekers deserve due process. 

Lack of Transparency is a Serious Problem

It is effectively impossible to guarantee that immigrants are being treated fairly in these makeshift immigration courts without additional oversight. The lack of transparency inside the tent courts is a very serious problem. Sadly, when it comes to the Trump Administration’s treatment of immigrants and handling of immigration law, this case is no outlier. In fact, the entire ‘remain in Mexico’ policy has created mass confusion along the Southern Border. 

Under President Trump, the executive branch has consistently worked to roll back basic immigrant rights. To add to that, the administration has often not been clear or transparent in its policies — leading to an enormous amount of confusion and fear in immigrant communities in Southern California and throughout the country. 

Get Help from Our Immigration Attorneys Today

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our  immigration law specialist is a compassionate, skilled advocate for immigrant rights. To request a completely confidential review of your case, please contact us today. With a law office located in Downtown Los Angeles, we serve communities all over Southern California, including in Compton, Inglewood, Monterey Park, and Beverly Hills. 

Josh Goldstein
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