Immigration courts “completed 324,000 proceedings in the 2006 fiscal year but only 287,000 in the 2010 fiscal year” according to a report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz. While the number of immigration court judges has increased in recent years, the courts have been beset with delays and fallen behind in processing removal cases.
The inefficiency is due to several factors including lack of funding and training of new judges. These both add to the delays in the system despite there being more judges to actually hear the cases. Furthermore, the priority is given to subject matter pertaining to foreign nationals who are detained for a crime. In cases where individuals are facing deportation, the other cases that may have been in progress in the system for months are set aside once again. “Cases in which the foreign national is detained lasted on average 48 days, while cases in which the person was not detained went on for an average of 526 days.” Because of the push to check the citizenship status of immigrants ensuring they are in the country legally, more cases are appearing at the courts regarding deportation. These are in turn crowding out other immigration cases causes a backup in the system.
It is estimated that over 12 million undocumented immigrants reside in the U.S. currently. These cases are not being processed efficiently.
If you have questions or would like further information about the immigration process, contact us at 314-961-8200.