Federal immigration courts remain open despite shutdown orders

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Much of the country is shutdown because of COVID-19, and certainly the stay-at-home order here in Ohio is being strictly enforced. 

But one thing that is up and running across the nation is federal immigration courts, despite pleas from judges, prosecutors and immigration attorneys.

“We, as immigration attorneys, are supposed to be the voice of reason,” said immigration attorney Inna Simakovsky. “We are supposed to know what is going on. Our clients count on us for communication, for accurate information and that information is not forthcoming.”

Simakovsky, who came to America with her family decades ago as a refugee from Russia, said information from federal courts is at best haphazard. 

Because of the pandemic, she is not able to visit any clients who are in detention.

The U.S. Department of Justice, which controls the immigrations courts, said in a statement it has no plans to suspend detention hearings.

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