After Load Trail Raid, ‘Fake Dates’ Confuse Court Proceedings

Sep 17, 2018

When immigrants arrested during the Aug. 28 raid in Lamar County reported to a Dallas court for their hearings on Sept. 13, they learned that their designated courts did not have their cases on that day’s docket.

According to a Dallas Morning News report, court officials told the roughly two dozen immigrants bearing a Notice to Appear specifying Sept. 13 that they had been given “fake dates.”

The orders themselves are real, but it appears that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials did not coordinate the dates with immigration courts. The Dallas Morning News reports that similar problems have been reported at courts in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and San Diego. Not only have dates not matched dockets, but some immigrants have been given notices mandating them to appear in court at midnight, on a weekend, or on the nonexistent date of Sept. 31.

The immigrants who reported to Dallas last week were among those arrested in a raid at Load Trail, a trailer-assembly plant located near Sumner, in western Lamar County. Instead of appearing in a hearing as expected, immigrants were asked to fill out a form and then given a phone number to call to check for the actual date of their impending hearing, the Dallas Morning News said.

Inquiries made Friday by the Dallas Morning News regarding the bad dates were passed off by various federal agencies. An initial inquiry to ICE was referred to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, an office of the Department of Justice. The Executive Office for Immigration Review then referred the request to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE.

ICE spokesman Tim Oberle told the Dallas Morning News that the Executive Office for Immigration Review, “is responsible for setting and resetting appearance dates upon receipt of a notice to appear filed by” ICE and other “components” of Homeland Security.

Neither ICE nor the court agency offered the Dallas Morning News an explanation for the confusion.