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The Supreme Court heard oral argument on whether rejected asylum seekers may seek judicial review

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether asylum seekers may seek judicial review after their claims are denied in summary proceedings. During oral argument, the court seemed split on whether some amount of judicial review was appropriate. This is all in light of expedited removal proceedings, where many asylum seekers are initially denied without having ever seen an immigration judge.

The U.S. government used the therapy notes of a detained asylum seeker against him in court.

19-year old Kevin Euceda came to the U.S. and applied for asylum 3 years ago. While he was detained for nearly 3 years, he was ordered to attend mandatory therapy sessions. During the confidential therapy sessions, he told the therapist about his history of physical abuse, neglect, and former gang affiliation in Honduras. In court, ICE used these confidential therapy notes against him; Kevin’s case is currently under appeal. Other asylum seekers’ therapy notes have been used against them as well. The information sharing is technically legal, but psychologists say the policy breaks important doctor-patient confidentiality.

Mexico is concerned that a recent Supreme Court ruling on cross-border shootings will set a precedent.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court barred a lawsuit by the family of a Mexican teenager shot on the Mexican side of the border against a Border Patrol agent who was on the U.S. side. In response, the Mexican government had “deep concerns about the effects that this decision will have on other similar cases, in which Mexican citizens have died from gunshots fired by U.S. agents towards the Mexican side.”

Central American asylum seekers sent to Mexico are becoming victims of kidnappings.

Under the Remain in Mexico program, asylum seekers are sent to Mexico for the duration of their cases. These asylum seekers are increasingly becoming victims of kidnappings. Doctors without Borders said in September 2019 that 44% of their patients had been victims of kidnappings, with another 12% being victims of attempted kidnappings. By October 2019, the percent of patients who were kidnapping victims was 75%. CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan discussed the report in a briefing on February 11, saying that the report did not reflect CBP’s understanding of the security situation in Mexico. Morgan also said that CBP would work with the Mexican government to encourage asylum seekers to stay in shelters and not in encampments where they may be more vulnerable to attacks.

USCIS has updated Form I-730.

USCIS published an updated version of Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. The new edition date is 9/17/19, and the new edition must be used starting 4/13/2020

A judge blocked the executive order allowing states to bar refugees

In September 2019, President Trump issued an executive order requiring consent from states in order to continue refugee resettlement in those locations after June 2020. Under the order, local governments are able to deny consent to refugees as well. With the deadline for consent approaching, a court out of New York issued a preliminary injunction against the policy, blocking it from going into effect while litigation proceeds. The ruling on Wednesday said that the executive order is likely “unlawful” as it sidelines refugee resettlement agencies and contravenes the Refugee Act’s purpose and structure.

The U.S. has started to send families to Guatemala.

The United States has started sending families seeking asylum in the U.S. to Guatemala. This follows an agreement with Guatemala saying that all asylum seekers who pass through Guatemala before arriving to the U.S. border must first apply for asylum there. Guatemala faces many of the same problems as other Central American countries: violence, corruption, and poverty, and the U.S. has many asylum seekers fleeing Guatemala. For the first time on Tuesday, U.S. officials began sending non-Guatemalan families there

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