‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum hearings suspended until June 1
SAN DIEGO – The Trump administration on Thursday suspended immigration court hearings for asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico through June 1, bowing to public health concerns while extending a state of limbo those locked down in Mexican migrant shelters. While it is difficult to know precisely, the Justice Department estimated in late February that there were 25,000 people waiting in Mexico for hearings in U.S. court. Barely 1% of the nearly 45,000 “Return to Mexico” cases decided through March won asylum, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. The future of “Remain in Mexico” has become less certain after the administration temporarily suspended immigration laws using a 1944 public-health law, whisking Mexicans and Central Americans to the nearest border to be returned to Mexico without a chance to seek asylum. “We really can't commit to a case.”The Justice Department, which oversees immigration courts, has also suspended hearings for people who are released in the United States through May 15 in response to COVID-19, exacerbating a backlog of about 1.1 million cases.