The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Trump administration appears to have used every trick in the book to drive undocumented immigrants out of the country–be it the use of force, surveillance, arrests at courthouses, raids, warrantless entries into homes and collateral arrests.
However, in its latest attempt, the agency is reportedly asking immigrants to come to the courthouse on the dates that don’t even exist.
According to the Dallas Morning News, roughly two dozen immigrants arrived at a Texas courthouse last week for their court hearings only to be turned away. The court staffers reportedly told them their names were not on the docket and that they had been given “fake dates.”
Just last month, ICE raided a trailer manufacturing plant in Sumner, Texas, and arrested at least 160 suspected undocumented immigrants.The raid was the agency’s largest at a worksite in a decade.
Later, the immigrants were reportedly given “fake dates” by the ICE officials who apparently never coordinated or cleared the dates with the immigration courts.
What’s even more bizarre is some of the immigrants were given documents ordering them to be in court at midnight, on weekends and on a date that doesn’t exist: Sept. 31.
However, the case of “dummy dates” wasn’t just limited to Texas. Many immigration attorneys across the nation said a lot of their clients had to go through this inconvenience.
“Some traveled as far as Kentucky, " said Ashley Huebner, associate director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center, "and found out either they were not in court proceedings at all or the date they received to come was completely erroneously.”
“The immigration court system is confusing enough on a normal day. But to have an individual who probably does not speak English ... and receives a document in which DHS has purposely listed a fake date and time is a real different level of confusion and absurdity,” she added.
Neither the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) nor the Justice Department had any explanation for creating this atmosphere of utter chaos at the immigration courts.
One such immigrant who was picked up at the raid was Santos Monroy, a 29-year-old from Mexico who had to keep calling the court for his next date. Monroy, who worked at the trailer company six years to support his wife and four children, said he was worried about his legal status and how he would pay the bills.
“I am always thinking of what will happen tomorrow,” he said.
It is important to mention the immigration courts were already dealing with a major backlog of cases when the Trump administration, not long ago, sought permission from judges to reopen thousands of deportation cases that were previously suspended by authorities. Such measures were bound to create such confusion and discoordination, like the one in question, where the immigrants have to make several trips to the court for no avail.
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