No Relief For America’s Overburdened Immigration Courts: President Trump Announces Federal Hiring Freeze

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No Relief For America’s Overburdened Immigration Courts:  President Trump Announces Federal Hiring Freeze

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In one of his first actions as President of the United States, Donald Trump announced an executive order that freezes the hiring of new federal employees (with an exemption for essential military personnel). In one swipe of his pen, the new president further handcuffed an Immigration Court system that takes approximately five years to resolve the average case. The agency cannot hire any more immigration judges during this hiring freeze. With each judge completing about 750 cases per year, the Court would need at least 220 more judges to eliminate the huge backlog within one year. And of course that is assuming that no new cases are added (which is impossible). The Denver Immigration Court has the longest wait times in the country with an enormous backlog and cases that typically take 6 or 7 years to complete. Even the so-called “rocket-docket”, a fast-track plan of the Obama Administration to prioritize the cases of parents and children from Central
America, takes an average of three years to complete a case. Out of the approximately 161,000 cases pending in this category since 2014, the judges have finished only about 67,000- about 40{b6b8f04f7bd4b863c4cfed8339fd19419bda3e071c79bc5ac8c810cb9c52e30f}. This enormous backlog- more than 520,000 cases total- will be a major obstacle to President Trump’s plans to deport as many as 3 million immigrants he says has criminal records. The majority of those deportations would have to be ordered by immigration judges. Moreover, many of those immigrants will have defenses against deportation and are entitled to their day in court to fight their case. This “day in court” is growing more and more distant as the cases pile up. If you have a question regarding this huge backlog and how it may affect your pending immigration case, please ask your attorney at the Joseph & Hall P.C.

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