Priority Case Backlog in Immigration Courts Surpasses 100,000

Priority Case Backlog in Immigration Courts Surpasses 100,000

Despite the federal government’s repeated vows to fix the problem, the Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University is reporting that the backlog of cases in immigration court continues to grow. As of the end of last year, the backlog reached a record high of 533,909 cases, which is a 4.2 percent increase during the last quarter of 2016. Even more alarming is the severity of the backlog for priority cases involving women with children. There was a drastic increase of almost 22% of these types of cases being backlogged over the last four months, with the total number of these cases reaching a record-breaking 102,342 in number. Another 75,582 of priority cases involving unaccompanied children also remained pending at the end of the year. Together, the pending priority cases concerning women and children account for one-third, or 33%, of the court’s overall number of backlogged cases. One immigration courtroom reveals the story of a deportation hearing finally being scheduled after delays for 14 years, only to be delayed once again when the immigration judge was reassigned to other cases. The deportation hearing was rescheduled for 2019. Another courtroom saw a bewildered mother whose four-month-old son was scheduled for a deportation hearing. These incidents are not unique to these particular courtrooms; many of the 56 immigration courts nationwide are seeing an overwhelming amount of cases, with too few judges and clerks to handle a growing docket based on a bunch of paper files. Even in what are proclaimed as the nation’s best of the immigration courts are falling behind, such as Arlington, where eight judges are struggling to handle over 30,000 cases scheduled out in the future until 2022. While the number of immigration judges has grown slowly over the past several years, it is still is far from sufficient to even begin to deal with the backlog. When combined with a three-year hiring freeze at the U.S. Department of Justice and step-ups in immigration enforcement during the Obama administration, the backlog has become seemingly insurmountable. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we are dedicated to protecting your rights to enter and/or remain in the U.S., regardless of the immigration court backlog that you may be facing. We know how to evaluate your case under current U.S. immigration laws, explore your options, and provide you with the strongest defense against removal possible. Contact your California deportation defense attorneys today and set up an appointment to speak with our team.
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