American Gateways warns that thousands of immigrants may show up for immigration court in San Antonio the day after Thanksgiving, best known as the shopping day Black Friday.
“Thousands of people seeking federal permission to stay in the U.S. had hearings set for this Nov. 29, 2019–and that count is for San Antonio’s immigration courts alone,” said Rebecca Lightsey, executive director of the Central Texas nonprofit. “Many have not been told that those hearings have now been rescheduled.”
In 2014, the Obama administration shifted court resources to cases involving children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. That move preceded mass postponements of more than 100,000 other immigration hearings to Nov. 29, 2019. But, more than five years later, thousands still have court scheduled on that same day.While the government just announced that all the Nov. 29 hearings were subsequently rescheduled, American Gateways fears that many immigrants have not been notified.
“People might be traveling great distances to show up for nothing,” Lightsey said. “This spells chaos.”
On Nov. 29, American Gateways plans to greet individuals summoned to the San Antonio courts. “We have no idea how many immigrants will show up, but we’ll be there to help and answer questions,” Lightsey said. Individuals who have not been notified that their hearings have been rescheduled may call the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s EOIR at 1-800-898-7180 or 240-314-1500 to find out about the status of their case.
American Gateways champions the rights of immigrants, refugees and survivors of persecution, torture, conflict and human trafficking through immigration legal services, at low or no cost, as well as education and advocacy.