Immigration Court Crisis Has Been Brewing

Civil courts operating the United States immigration system have been operating with long delays for years, and eventually you can expect the ongoing story of “unaccompanied border children” will linger on effects of the government funding cuts from “sequester.”

Those cutbacks made news last year, with the Associated Press reporting in October of 2013 that “… meanwhile, the vast majority of immigration courts have been closed, according to a notice posted on the immigration courts’ website. Hearings are still taking place, however, for immigrants being held in detention. That means most immigrants fighting deportation or seeking asylum in the courts are not getting their cases heard. Many have already waited months or years for a court date in a system besieged with backlogs.

Advocates say they may now have to wait much longer.”

The AP quoted Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, saying that “… if you had your case set for today and you can’t appear because the court is not open, you could likely have your continuance set out a year or more. It’s not just show up next Tuesday. It’s show up in 2014 or 2015.”

Published reports say that wait has, in some cases, expanded to from three to five years.