Update: The Department of Justice has reversed its order, according to The Daily Beast.
Once the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. proved inevitable, the National Association of Immigration Judges sent a message to immigration judges recommending hanging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s posters containing simple rules for COVID-19 precautions in a public area. The idea is to inform incoming immigrants and refugees about the dangers of COVID-19 and preventative measures. But now, courts will have to take those posters down per orders from the Trump Administration. [h/t Miami Herald]
The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which falls under the Department of Justice, instructed all courtrooms to immediately remove the posters, which had information and guidelines written in English and Spanish.
“This is just a reminder that immigration judges do not have the authority to post, or ask you to post, signage for their individual courtrooms or the waiting areas,” wrote acting chief immigration judge Christopher A. Santoro. “Per our leadership, the CDC flyer is not authorized for posting in the immigration courts. If you see one (attached), please remove it. Thank you.”
Immigration experts expressed confusion and dismay, questioning why the administration wouldn’t want to keep incoming persons informed of coronavirus hazards.
“Frankly it is as baffling to us why EOIR is failing to take any concrete steps, consistent with the CDC …to safeguard the health of its employees and the public,” Union President A. Ashley Tabaddor told the Miami Herald. “It appears that it is taking an ostrich approach of sticking one’s head in the sand and hoping it would all go away.”