Immigration Court Backlogs Result in Years of Limbo for Asylum Seekers

Immigration Court Backlogs Result in Years of Limbo for Asylum Seekers

A recent Chicago Tribune article chronicles the plight of individuals seeking asylum in Illinois immigration courts, where more than 20,000 deportation cases are currently pending. With almost five times the number of deportation cases that were pending in immigration courts in Illinois a decade ago, the average waiting time for a court date for an individual seeking asylum is now 1,046 days, or nearly three years. Meanwhile, asylum seekers remain in the U.S., awaiting a court date in a kind of legal limbo. The uncertainty of their future in the U.S. can make it impossible for these individuals and their families to carry on with their normal lives, which can mean that families put off having children, buying homes, and even getting a pet. Even worse, immigration advocates state that many asylum seekers have strong cases that make them likely to be able to obtain legal status in the U.S. Instead, they must languish with no legal status, simply due to the enormous caseloads presently in immigration courts. Illinois is not the only jurisdiction in the U.S. seeing these incredible backlogs. Nationwide, the number of pending deportation cases has skyrocketed from about 170,000 in 2006 to over 485,000 in 2016. According to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, about 20% of these cases are asylum claims. Authorities attribute these huge increases in deportation cases to staffing shortages, a 2014 influx of Central American immigrants, whose cases the U.S. government has prioritized, and a global refugee crisis. For instance, Illinois immigration courts were down to just five immigration judges in early 2016, as opposed to 11 judges in 2011. Plus, immigration judges often must be pulled away from their regular court dockets in order to hear the cases of individuals whom ICE has detained and placed in a detention center. Despite the legal limbo that those individuals seeking asylum must face for months and even years, you need the vigilant representation of California deportation defense lawyers throughout this process. We can help you with all of the questions that are likely to arise during the asylum process. No matter what your situation may be, we are here to define your options, give you professional advice, and help you make the decisions that are best for you and your family. The attorneys of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. have the experience and knowledge that is necessary to advocate on your behalf and represent your interests in your asylum proceedings, with the ultimate goal of avoiding deportation.
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