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Asylum-Seekers Are Missing Their Court Dates When They ‘Remain In Mexico’

Above: 401 W. A Street in downtown San Diego, where immigration hearings are ...

Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Above: Above: 401 W. A Street in downtown San Diego, where immigration hearings are held, June 21, 2019.

The Trump Administration launched the Remain in Mexico program last January, in an effort to cut down on what it called “catch and release” policies that encouraged immigrants to skip their immigration court dates.

But a new report shows that the Remain in Mexico program is actually driving down the number of asylum-seekers who show up for their immigration hearings.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nalder.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University compiles data on immigration cases and federal prosecutions. It found that the program has increased the number of migrants who miss their court dates.

Only 50% of Asylum-seekers sent back to Mexico under Remain in Mexico have shown up for their court dates. Many of them have had their asylum cases closed in absentia.

RELATED: Asylum-Seeker Sent Back To Mexico Is Killed In Tijuana

In contrast, 89% of immigrants allowed to pursue asylum from inside the United States attended their court hearings.

Along the California border, the numbers of asylum-seekers sent back to Mexico under “Remain in Mexico” has declined. This corresponds with a drop in the apprehensions of migrants along the border.

In November, 194 asylum-seekers were sent back to Mexico. At its height in July, more than 1,500 people were sent back.

In total, 4% of immigrants sent back to Mexico have been able to find representation. In contrast, 32% of those who were allowed to remain in the U.S. have obtained counsel over the same time period.

In court, judges often give people in “Remain-in-Mexico” more time to find an attorney before beginning to evaluate their asylum claim. The TRAC report found that the rate of representation in court hearings doesn’t increase when an asylum-seeker is given more time.

Only .1% of all people in Remain in Mexico along the border have successfully won asylum.

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Aired: December 20, 2019 | Transcript

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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