Friday, August 22, 2014
Loading...





5 things to know about immigration courts

From overflowing caseloads to wait times, 5 things to know about immigration Courts

Posted on July 12, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on July 12, 2014 at 11:01 a.m.

An overlooked element in the immigration debate is the nation’s Immigration Court system, where many of the newly arrived migrants will have their cases resolved. Here are key facts about the court system and its struggles:

OVERFLOWING CASELOAD

The number of immigrants with cases before the immigration courts has jumped 7 percent since October to more than 375,000, the agency’s highest caseload to date. The number of cases before the immigration courts rose by 23,000 during the previous fiscal year.

WAIT TIMES

The average time a pending case has been before the immigration courts is now 587 days, which is about 19 months, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Immigration lawyers say getting a hearing can take much longer than that. For example, in Los Angeles, the average time a case has been before the immigration court is more than two years, data show.

COURT LOCATIONS

The country has 59 immigration courts overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice. Some are inside detention centers, while others deal with immigrants who are not detained. The states with the biggest immigration caseloads are California, New York and Texas.

DEPORTATION VERSUS RELIEF

Immigration judges decided more than 140,000 initial cases during the 2013 fiscal year, which doesn’t include cases reopened or returned on appeal. More than two-thirds of the immigrants were ordered deported, while about 17 percent qualified for relief. Four years earlier, about 82 percent of the initial cases decided by the courts ended in deportation, according to agency statistics.

NATIONALITIES

The top five countries of origin of immigrants with initial cases decided by the court during the 2013 fiscal year were Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and China, according to the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.




 Palestinians gather around the rubble of a destroyed house following Israeli strikes in the Rafah refugee camp, Southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Updated 1 hour ago
 St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies escort Nicole Vaisey, 25, into Fowler Town Court for her preliminary hearing, Thursday, Aug 21, 2014, in Fowler, N.Y. Vaisey and Stephen Howells II are charged with abducting and sexually abusing two young Amish sisters as the girls worked their family’s roadside vegetable stand in Oswegatchie, N.Y. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Watertown Daily Times, Jason Hunter)     MANDATORY CREDIT, SYRACUSE OUT

Updated 1 hour ago
 FILE - This undated file photo shows Han Tak Lee in Pennsylvania. After 24 years in prison, a U.S. district judge vacated Lee's state conviction and sentence on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, agreeing with a magistrate's conclusion that the science underpinning the case has been discredited. On Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, the 79-year-old Lee is scheduled to be released from a state prison in rural central Pennsylvania and then appear at a federal court hearing to determine the conditions of his release. (AP Photo/The Philadelphia Inquirer, Todd Buchanan, File) PHIX OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NEWARK OUT

Updated 2 hours ago
Back to top ^