President Trump’s shutdown of the federal government has further delayed the resolution of thousands of immigration cases—a backlog that the Justice Department and immigration courts across the country have been struggling with.
Several U.S. immigration courts around the country remain closed as the government shutdown enters its third week, putting on hold the already unmanageable backlog of tens of thousands of immigration cases, many of which involve asylum application and other immigration claims.
The migrants involved, which the records office at the University of Syracuse puts at 800,000 in number, have no choice but to wait for the Congress and the Trump administration to arrive at a bipartisan deal that will finally fund government operations.
“Many people who have waited to have their final court dates will no longer be able to represent their cases,” said immigration attorney Gustavo Mora. “Those cases will be delayed for three to six months or one more year into the future.”
The cases of new arrivals into the country will be handled promptly, but Mora points out that those cases may be affected by the shutdown as well.
“With the immigration courts, clients who have just arrived in the United States because of political asylum that have ankle monitors and are under supervision order will not be able to hear their cases soon in court,” Mora said.
The Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) postponed thousands of immigration cases without warning at the onset of the shutdown last December. The move irked attorneys, who complained about the EOIR’s lack of notice and communication.
Immigration judges have pointed out that the shutdown only worsens their caseload yet brings the President no closer to his goal and campaign promise of building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The situation is extremely frustrating for immigration judges like Amiena Khan, vice president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.
“There is a tremendous amount of irony to all of this. As the government is shut down for this process to ensure greater border security, look at what it’s doing to our system as a whole,” she said.
While Trump claims that he is willing to keep the government in shutdown until “REAL Border Security” goes into implementation, negotiations between the White House and the Democratic majority continue in meetings new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi describes as “contentious.”
“How do you define progress? When you have a better understanding of each other’s position? When you eliminate some possibilities? If that’s a judgment, then yes, we made progress,” Pelosi said as she left one such meeting.
If you would like to learn more about this latest update to U.S. immigration policy, or have a loved one seeking immigration assistance, don’t hesitate to sit down for a consultation with the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225 to talk to immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.