Immigration attorneys are condemning a new government program that fast tracks the deportation process for asylum-seeking migrants.
According to lawyers, migrants who are placed in the secretive pilot program are sent to a Border Patrol station. They reportedly have one day to contact a lawyer, before they’re screened for fear of persecution in their home countries. Lawyers aren’t allowed to visit the station; they’re limited to brief phone calls.
Linda Rivas runs a legal nonprofit that helps migrants prepare for these screenings – called credible fear interviews.
“It is incredibly troubling for us to see this process being expedited in such a way that it is practically and logistically impossible to find an attorney,” Rivas says.
Asylum seekers learn their fate after the screenings, and can be quickly deported.
Immigration attorneys say the pilot program denies migrants due process. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.