Citing coronavirus threats, the U.S. government has canceled all deportation hearings for immigrants not in detention after immigration judges and government prosecutors complained busy courts were putting them at risk of infection. This follows announcement that the Customs and Border authorities are pushing new asylum seekers back into Mexico – and now Canada – to forestall disease spread from migrants. As such, these moves happen to fit nicely into Trump administration policies aimed at halting immigration of all sort.
The closures of courts in Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, New York City, Newark, Sacramento and Los Angeles, took effect today. The court in Seattle was already closed. Cases of immigrants stuck in detention will be heard as scheduled. The decision came after unions representing immigration judges and prosecutors from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement called for the shutdown. (3/18)