Homeland Security gives media tour of tent courts

Washington D.C.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, center, and other officials, tour the Migration Protection Protocols Immigration Hearing Facility, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Laredo, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The U.S. government says at least 42,000 migrants have been forced back into Mexico after crossing the border.

President Donald Trump’s top lieutenants on immigration and border enforcement gave media a tour of the tent court complex in Laredo on Tuesday, defending the “remain in Mexico” policy. The complex includes several rooms where court hearings are held as people wait and children read storybooks in Spanish.

The Department of Homeland Security has said it planned to spend $155 million to build and operate the tent courts but expects the costs to be less. But critics have denounced the proceedings because they are closed to the public and difficult for attorneys to access.

During the tour, there were 15 immigrants in a processing room and two dozen in a room where migrants await a decision on their case.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan defended the “remain in Mexico” policy, calling it a reasonable alternative to separating and detaining families in the U.S.

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