CNN reports that more than 100 immigrants received paperwork that ordered them to appear before a judge. However, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) say that when those who were summoned showed up at court houses, they discovered that their court dates were never scheduled. This resulted in giant lines that snaked around the block of immigration courts throughout the U.S.
One witness at an immigration court in Atlanta said, “Security was unprepared for this. The court was unprepared for this. They were scrambling to check every single one of these cases to see if these cases have been already filed with this court."
Immigration lawyers say that this development is the just latest example of how dysfunctional the immigration system has become under the Trump administration. Jeremy McKinney, the AILA's treasurer said, “From a humanitarian point of view, it's sickening what you're seeing happening here, because they're toying with these individuals' lives in many cases. ... This is widespread, it's national and it's outrageous."
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that notices to appear in immigration court have to specify the time and place of the proceedings to be valid. As a result of this ruling, immigration lawyers throughout the country have said their clients are being issued notices with "fake dates.”
According to Daniel Hetlage, spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the dates on notices issued by the agency are “based on guidance on upcoming docket dates from local EOIR, an agency within the US Department of Justice responsible for administering the immigration courts."
The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice released a statement said the confusion was caused by "minor logistical errors." The statement reads, “The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are working through minor logistical errors that resulted in a number of individuals appearing for immigration court hearings that were not docketed in accordance with regulatory requirements. These errors will be resolved and will not prevent these cases from being docketed properly in a timely fashion."
Officials have not answered questions about why the ordeal happened it the first place, or about what plans they have to remedy this going forward.
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