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US delays 'Remain in Mexico' migrant hearings due to virus

AFP  |  Washington 

The US Department of Justice said it was delaying court hearings for asylum seekers ordered to stay in Mexico while their cases are being decided, due to the coronavirus.

The "Remain in Mexico" policy unveiled in December 2018 by the Trump administration calls for non-Mexican asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are under consideration.

Cases listed up to April 22 will be rescheduled, the DoJ's Executive Office for Immigration Review and the Department of Homeland Security said in a joint statement on Monday.

Neither the "Remain in Mexico" program nor any hearings would be canceled, they stressed.

"DHS and EOIR are deeply committed to ensuring that individuals 'have their day in court' while also ensuring the health and safety of aliens, our frontline officers, immigration court professionals, and our citizens."

The move applies to around 25,000 asylum seekers, most of them fleeing poverty or persecution in Central American nations, who have been forced to stay in Mexico while their cases are under consideration.

The Supreme Court earlier this month allowed the policy to remain in place pending a legal challenge.

Donald Trump, who is seeking reelection in November, has made cracking down on illegal immigration one of the cornerstones of his presidency.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 15:06 IST