This week in immigration news – March 19, 2020

ICE to halt raids

Despite raids that were reported earlier this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has made the decision to suspend immigration enforcement, except for individuals deemed to pose a threat to public safety.

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Despite COVID-19, immigration court shows no sign of slowing down

Even though state and federal courts have been scaling back hearings due to the Coronavirus pandemic, immigration courts have continued to hear cases with only minor adjustments, having been told that they count as “essential personnel.” This has prompted outrage from immigration judges and attorneys—even those that serve as prosecutors in the system. As those working in the immigration courts during this unprecedented time told POLITICO, the waiting rooms, hallways, and court rooms are not big enough to enforce proper social distancing of at least six feet between each person.

Trump administration turns back asylum seekers at the border

The Trump administration is turning back all asylum seekers at the border due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Under this policy, migrants who present themselves at the United States’s border will be shuttled back into Mexico. While immigration officials insist that this policy is solely to protect border patrol agents from contracting COVID-19, how far-reaching this policy is—(would it apply to asylum seekers who arrive at other ports of entry)—remains unclear.

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