U.S. Immigration Courts Illegally Kept Secret

Immigration hearings in the United States are federally mandated to be open to the public, with very few exceptions. When the Nation‘s Jacqueline Stevens tried to attend two hearings, however, she was repeatedly denied entry, and not because of the exceptions. Stevens, an associate professor in the Law and Society Program at the University of California, reports “The immigration courts at Florence [Arizona] are either closed to the entire public or are screening for ICE critics. Both actions are illegal.” 

Experts interviewed by Stevens agree that barring observers from the courts increases the chance of exploitation and could prevent people from getting a fair hearing. Mary Naftzger, a member of the Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition who frequently attends immigration hearings, told Stevens, “We have feedback from lawyers who say the judges are more respectful when court watchers are there.”

Source: The Nation

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