The NY Post recently published a story highlighting a serious problem in our nation’s immigration courts. The courts, known as the Executive Office for Immigration Review, have gone days without operating computer servers. Judges are being forced to enter orders and schedule cases manually, thereby stretching an already overburdened system to the brink of disaster.
Immigrants and their attorneys are unable to obtain information from the Court’s 1-800 telephone system which has also stopped operating. This has led to additional continuances and slowed processing time for deportation cases considerably.
The Post piece includes anecdotal stories of immigrants who were supposed to have been deported, but find themselves staying in the U.S. due to the court’s inability to communicate effectively with Immigration & Customs Enforcement, the agency charged with enforcing immigration laws.
On a local level, the Kansas City EOIR has been under a hiring freeze for some time. Several long time staffers have departed for better paying jobs and the immigration court has not been allowed to replace them. Cases are being delayed to 2015 and beyond. While Court personnel are doing their best, this is no way to run an efficient immigration system.
Congress must devote more resources to the Courts, especially considering President Obama’s record-setting pace of deportations.