U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have allegedly written false court hearing dates on asylum seekers’ paperwork to send them back to Mexico indefinitely, records obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune show. Under the Migrant Protection Protocols policy, migrants seeking asylum in the United States have to wait in Mexico until their cases are resolved, at which point they are typically paroled in the U.S. or placed into federal custody. Only migrants with future court dates scheduled are supposed to be sent to Mexico. But according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, border agents in California and Texas have given at least 14 migrants who have finished their court dates documents with fake future court dates and sent them back to Mexico.
“This is fraud,” Bashir Ghazialam, a San Diego-based immigration lawyer who represents six people who received these fake future court dates, said. “I don’t call everything fraud. This is the first time I’ve used the words, ‘U.S. government,’ and, ‘fraud,’ in the same sentence. No one should be OK with this.” The Department of Homeland Security and Custom and Border Protection did not respond to The San Diego Union-Tribune’s multiple requests for comment.