November 5, 2018
By Maria Gabriella Pezzo and Roberto Daza Nov 1, 2018
Hundreds of people stood in line outside immigration courts in cities across the country on Halloween for what appeared to be a trick: the date on their notices said October 31, 2018, but the immigration courts did not know they were coming.
One attorney described the area outside the immigration court in San Francisco as a “mob scene.” The line outside the immigration court in Atlanta hugged the gate around a good portion of the building.
“Chicago was a zoo,” Daniel Thomann, a Chicago immigration attorney, told VICE News. “I arrived a little after 9 a.m.. The elevator lobby was packed with people, you could barely get out of the elevator.”
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement appears to be sending notices with fake dates to prevent undocumented immigrants from qualifying for what’s called the “stop-time rule,” which can make them eligible to stay if they can prove they’ve been in the U.S. continually and have a family member with a green card or U.S. citizenship.
Because ICE has long had difficulty scheduling dates with the immigration courts, it used to send notices with “TBD” court dates. But in June, the Supreme Court ruled that a “TBD” notice to appear was invalid, and that’s when ICE started sending notices with fake dates.
“ICE is making up dates and putting them on notices to appear as some sort of empty gesture to a constitutional mandate from the Supreme Court,” said Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. ICE did not respond to a request for comment.
The “phantom” court date phenomenon can be traced to a June 21 Supreme Court ruling in a case called Pereira v. Sessions.
SOURCE URL: Vice News