US official calls tent court for asylum seekers ‘impressive’

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — A top U.S. immigration official says the South Texas tent courtrooms where thousands of migrants forced to wait in Mexico will be given asylum hearings by video are “very impressive.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli spoke to reporters Tuesday, a day after he visited a tent in Brownsville, near the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. government has expanded its Migrant Protection Protocols to Texas across from Mexico’s Tamaulipas state, which the State Department warns Americans not to enter.

Cuccinelli says the tent has a “spectacular videoconferencing facility” where migrants will appear before judges based elsewhere.

Advocates have expressed alarm about the dangers migrants face in Tamaulipas and their uncertain access to lawyers, as well as the difficulty of presenting asylum cases over video.

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