Immigrant advocacy and union groups are reportedly demanding the Trump administration close all immigration courts and spring illegal immigrants at risk of a coronavirus infection.
Immigration judges, lawyers, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys pointed to the dangers of holding people in public spaces, NBC News reported.
"The scientific, evidence-based opinion of public health experts can only lead to one conclusion for us all who are connected with the immigration court system, and that is to immediately and temporarily close all of the immigration courts nationwide," Ashley Tabaddor, an immigration judge in Los Angeles and the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges union, said in a teleconference Tuesday, the news outlet reported.
"COVID-19 does not discriminate between a DHS trial attorney, private counsel, the respondents or court employees," she said. "We are all in it together."
Tabaddor said everyone in the court system needs to commute to work, often on public transportation, and works in "cramped waiting rooms and courtrooms bursting at the seam with people," NBC News reported.
Fanny Behar-Ostrow, president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 511, a union that represents ICE lawyers was outraged at the inaction.
"Our primary concern here today is with the Department of Justice's refusal to either close or postpone immigration court in-person hearings during this global health crisis," she said, NBC News reported.
"We oppose an edict that forces respondents to choose between attending court on the one hand or protecting themselves against exposure of the coronavirus on the other," she said.
The Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review said late Tuesday night that as of Wednesday, all hearings for those not in detention would be postponed and some courts would close. Those courts include some in Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, and California, the office said, but others remain open.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.