Tent Courts Hearings Underway for Migrants Waiting in Mexico

Recent Cases

Hearings in tent courts in South Texas are underway for asylum-seekers forced to wait in Mexico while their immigration applications are considered.

Monday's hearings mark the formal opening of the courts. Twenty-one migrants lined up in Mexico to cross the border for their appearances.

Officials say they want 200 migrants appear each day in the tents in Laredo. A judge in a brick courthouse in San Antonio is presiding over the Laredo court via video chat.

Outside observers are barred from the tents, but journalists were allowed into the San Antonio courthouse.

The Trump administration introduced its "Remain in Mexico" policy in January in response to an increase in asylum-seeking families, especially from Central America.

Critics have assailed the policy for making families and children wait in violent Mexico border cities.

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USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is adjusting the premium processing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers beginning on Oct. 1, 2018 to more effectively adjudicate petitions and maintain effective service to petitioners.

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,410, a 14.92 percent increase (after rounding) from the current fee of $1,225. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, represents the percentage change in inflation since the fee was last increased in 2010 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

“Because premium processing fees have not been adjusted since 2010, our ability to improve the adjudications and service processes for all petitioners has been hindered as we’ve experienced significantly higher demand for immigration benefits. Ultimately, adjusting the premium processing fee will allow us to continue making necessary investments in staff and technology to administer various immigration benefit requests more effectively and efficiently,” said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Moore. “USCIS will continue adjudicating all petitions on a case-by-case basis to determine if they meet all standards required under applicable law, policies, and regulations.”

Premium processing is an optional service that is currently authorized for certain petitioners filing Forms I-129 or I-140. The system allows petitioners to request 15-day processing of certain employment-based immigration benefit requests if they pay an extra fee. The premium processing fee is paid in addition to the base filing fee and any other applicable fees, which cannot be waived.