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Federal Immigration Court Continues to Operate - With No Judge

Federal Immigration Court Continues to Operate - With No Judge

The Desert Sun recently reported that the U.S. government is spending an estimated $300,000 per year on the Imperial Immigration Court, even though it hasn’t had a sitting judge for almost two years. Three courtrooms stand empty, and they will remain that way until a new judge is appointed. Although detained immigrants can video conference with a San Diego immigration judge, those immigrants who are not detained have no such luxury. Instead, their cases are now scheduled for years into the future, unless they can move their cases to another court or another judge is appointed to Imperial. As a result, the Imperial backlog of immigration cases has increased from 786 cases in 2013 to 3,169 cases in 2016. Likewise, the number of cases completed has fallen in half over the same three-year period For someone with a weak immigration case, the lengthy delays can be a blessing. These individuals often can post bond in order to be released from detention, and obtain a work permit. For others with stronger cases, however, they have no ability to obtain legal status while the case is pending, even if they are entitled to do so. This puts them in a difficult position if they need to leave the U.S., even briefly, in order to tend to a dying parent, attend a relative’s funeral, or deal with another important family matter in their native countries. In this situation, if the immigrant does choose to leave the country, he or she can face extremely severe consequences if caught attempting to reenter the country, such as an inability to gain any type of legal status – perhaps permanently. Although the number of immigration judges across the country has reached an all-time high, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has committed to hiring an additional 100 judges by the end of 2017, there is no guarantee that Imperial’s courtrooms will be filled anytime soon. Despite these efforts by the DOJ, the immigration backlog continues, not just at Imperial, but at most immigration courts nationwide. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., has the experience that you need when you are facing deportation charges. We know how to investigate the facts that support your case, consider your options, and assess whether you have any legal defenses that may allow you to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S. Contact the Oakland immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we potentially can help you and your family through this difficult, emotional, and tumultuous situation.

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