Last night, the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the Department of Justice issued a joint statement announcing further delays in Migrant Protection Protocol cases due to COVID-19. Not only did the agencies announce an additional delay, but it also issued confusing instructions as to when asylum seekers should appear at the point of entry to receive a new date.
The statement reads:
Joint DHS/EOIR Statement on the Rescheduling of MPP Hearings
The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security continue to take necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting in-person interaction. To this end, the Departments have made the following adjustments to the temporary postponement of Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) hearings.
Beginning May 10th, in-person document service will be suspended immediately until June 8th, alleviating the need for aliens to travel within Mexico to a U.S. port of entry during this one-month suspension period. DHS and EOIR are deeply committed to ensuring the health and safety of aliens, our frontline officers, immigration court professionals, and our citizens.
All MPP hearings will remain postponed through, and including, June 19th. Individuals with a hearing date prior to June 22nd should present themselves at the port of entry identified on their tear sheet one month later than the date indicated on their most recently noticed date. For example, if the hearing date is May 10th, individuals should present themselves on June 10th.
For individuals with a hearing date of June 22nd or after, there is no change in procedures and individuals should report as instructed on their tear sheets.
The Departments are committed to proceeding with MPP hearings as expeditiously as possible and will continue to review conditions related to COVID-19 to make further determinations as necessary. For updated information on immigration courts in English and Spanish please visit: portal.eoir.justice.gov/infosystem or call: 1-800-898-7180.
It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest changes with EOIR/DHS and advise your clients accordingly. If you have any questions or need additional mentorship on this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us.