Immigrants wait for hearings in "tent courts" along the southern U.S. border

"Tent courts" being used along the border

Brownsville, Texas — Tents are now being used as courthouses along the southern border, as a backlog of immigrants seek asylum in the U.S. The Trump administration could spend up to $155 million dollars on a tent facility in Brownsville and one in Laredo, hoping it will ease the immigration backlog that is close to hitting 1 million cases.

There are 66 mini courtrooms in Brownsville that are connected to judges across the country via video conferencing. Thousands of asylum-seekers are now waiting across the Rio Grande river in Matamoros, Mexico. Immigration attorneys are now traveling into Mexico to help prepare them.

"I see that as the absolute representation of the denial of due process. In not only in the sense that it's a court system that is in secret, and hidden and away from the view of the public or the press," said attorney Jodi Goodwin.

Just one judge sitting in San Antonio had 52 cases on her docket that were heard by video conferencing Monday. She went through half of them in less than 30 minutes. Things are expected to ramp up next week at both locations.

  • Mireya Villarreal

    Mireya Villarreal is a CBS News correspondent.