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In late March, the Trump administration implemented an order that allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants without a hearing. This order has effectively ended the asylum process under the pretext that it is part of the efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. This shadow immigration system on the U.S.-Mexico border involves private contractors hired to detain migrant children in hotels upon their entrance into the United States only to send them home as quickly as possible. Within this process, immigration officials are bypassing the usual process that allows immigrant children to ask for asylum. 

How Is Shadow Immigration Different During COVID-19?

Typically, when migrant children travel to the United States alone and are stopped by Border Patrol, they are given special protections to ensure they aren’t forced back into a dangerous, life-threatening situation. There are child-appropriate shelters to detain them while they wait to be placed with a U.S. sponsor while their asylum cases are heard in court. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed this. Court documents are showing that many minors traveling without an adult are being held secretively in hotels. The length of their stay could be days or weeks until they are put on a flight back to their home country. The Trump administration claims this is to protect the health of the public during the pandemic. 

Some immigration lawyers who have become aware of migrant children being detained in hotels have gone to court in an attempt to stop their expulsions. The Civil Liberties Union has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all migrant children affected by this situation in hopes of stopping the rapid expulsions. An attorney from the Texas Civil Rights Project was aggressively rejected from a hotel in McAllen, TX after attempting to reach migrant children who were being detained there. TCRP has also announced a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security regarding these repaid expulsions for asylum seekers. 

Have You Been Affected by Dangerous Shadow Immigration Systems?

If you or a loved one have been affected by this unjust form of detention and expulsion, Novo Legal is here to help. The attorneys at Novo Legal are experienced in cases involving deportation and removal proceedings. Our headquarters are in Denver, Colorado, but we represent individuals and families nationwide. Novo Legal understands that our country was founded on the principles of immigration, and we are committed to keeping families together. Contact us today if you have any questions or need assistance with an immigration-related case.