Asylum seekers will appear before judges via teleconferencing in tents as “Remain in Mexico” program expands to Laredo

Texas

Laredo's mayor says U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to build tents to hold asylum proceedings through "virtual courtrooms."

FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2019 file photo, youngsters line up to enter a tent at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla. Advocates for immigrant children are suing to block the Trump administration from enforcing a new policy that they say would erode legal protections for thousands of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the U.S. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Asylum seekers will appear before judges via teleconferencing in tents as “Remain in Mexico” program expands to Laredo” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “remain in Mexico” program, has expanded to Laredo.

Approximately 10 migrants crossed the border to seek asylum Monday and were sent across the border to Nuevo Laredo on Tuesday to wait as their asylum applications are processed, according to the Associated Press. A DHS official said Tuesday that the agency coordinated with Mexican officials before sending the migrants back to Mexico.

Laredo officials also said Tuesday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be erecting tents in Laredo to act as temporary hearing facilities for MPP cases. Mayor Pete Saenz described the facilities as virtual immigration courtrooms where immigration judges can preside over cases via video conferencing. Saenz told television station KRGV that the facility will house between 20 and 27 courtrooms to assess and process asylum seekers.

The program began in San Diego in January before expanding to El Paso in March. Homeland Security officials told KRGV that the lack of capacity and other constraints at the immigration courts in those cities “hinder efforts to implement MPP at these locations.”

Enrique Valenzuela, director of Ciudad Juárez’s Centro de Atención a Migrantes, a migrant transition facility operated by the Chihuahua state government, said the number of migrants waiting across the Rio Grande from El Paso in Ciudad Juárez under the program had swelled from 2,800 to 7,600 since mid-May.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2019/07/09/remain-mexico-program-expands-laredo-texas/.

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