Humans Rights First reveals testimonials from migrant tent facilities

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - The practices taking place at the migrant processing tent facility is something that a non-profit organization is exposing.

They released a report providing testimonials of what's going on with the Migrant Protection Protocol program.

The tent facility, at least in Laredo, has been up and running for nearly four months and already advocacy groups are seeing a process that's a cause for concern.

In the nearly 30 page report released by Human Rights First highlights a number of issues migrants are experiencing as they try to achieve the American dream.

One of those hurdles is going before an immigration judge to plead their case.

However, the public has been unaware of what's been taking place in these tent processing facilities.

Now, the non-profit organization is shedding light after receiving testimonials from migrants, attorneys, court monitors and many other players within the process.

They say that:

Immigration judges are under pressure from the Department of Justice to order asylum seekers to be deported; 98 percent of MPP returnees did not have lawyers present, as of September; courts limit access to counsel; and asylum applications are primarily in English.

Immigration attorney Nelly Vielma says it's difficult to see what's taking place in these court hearings because there's next to no compassion from immigration judges.

"What we've seen is a lot of abuse, also the judges I think are fast track to get the cases moving and many times, even when we have two attorneys representing a client as it happened for us last week, the judge just on a break called up a client and said, ‘Do you want to proceed without a lawyer,’ and just took the client without an attorney and had her agree to a voluntary departure."

Another problem is that migrants who are granted asylum or protection are still being sent back to Mexico during the appeal process, something Vielma says is not right.

“I think if they already won like any other court, you should have whatever rights you were afforded, because you will be able to wait in a safe environment which is precisely why you came fleeing from and they're putting it back at risk, especially in areas where there's a lot of cartel violence as we know."

She says this is a new initiative that has growing pains but she hopes the federal government will reassess ways to improve upon it, but it depends on their goal for this project.

Human Rights First hopes that the Trump Administration cease all MPP and all other policies and practices that violate U.S. asylum and immigration law and refugee protocol, as well as directing CBP to restore timely and orderly asylum processing at ports of entry and ensure human conditions for people held under temporary custody.