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United States Has Record High Immigration Court Backlog

With President-elect Donald Trump set to take office on January 20, 2017, United States non-citizens may find that they have a need to get in front of an immigration judge. President-elect Trump’s anti-immigration statements may cause the addition of cases to an already backlogged immigration court system nationwide. The day after the election, Syracuse University released data which shows an alarming rate of pending cases currently before immigration courts.

Immigration courts across the United States have over 488,000 cases pending before them. The greatest amount of these cases (65,000) are pending before New York immigration courts. New York, California, and Texas cases make up nearly half of the immigration cases pending before United States courts.

Furthermore, the data reports the average amount of days that a case is pending before the court before a decision is issued. The national average of days that non-citizens are awaiting their case to be decided is 670 days. New York courts are deciding cases just under the average at 642 days. The delay in the process has been attributed to a shortage of immigration court judges. The Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review is responsible for the staffing, but they have seen a shortage of judges for years.

Many immigration experts fear the probability of the new administration placing all non-citizens into proceedings therefore increasing the already backlogged system. However, we feel there may be some positive outcomes to develop from the new administration. Mr. Bretz stated: In my 25 years of practicing immigration laws, sometimes harsh changes have many positive benefits. For example, the republican congress in 1996 passed two very harsh immigration laws, which are still being litigated today in the federal courts. Thousands of deportable non-citizens remained in the US for years and many eventual won their cases because of the litigation they followed such dramatic changes.

It is still to be seen how the new administration will affect non-citizens within the United States. Until January 17, 2017 the current immigration laws will remain in place. Therefore, it is crucial non-citizens seek legal advice immediately.

If you are concerned about your current non-citizen status and are seeking legal advice, it is important to get quality legal services. Our firm has a long history of being passionate, knowledgeable, and honest in our work of providing non-citizens with legal services they can rely on. Contact us at (212) 267-2555 to schedule your consultation.

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