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Immigration courts backlog stalls thousands of cases

The number of immigration cases clogging up the courts is unprecedented, according to the American Bar Association. In their recent report, they have issued the warning that the one million case backlog is causing an existential crisis. This number was at 262,000 in 2010 compared to 760,000 at the end of the 2018 financial year.

California residents might be surprised to hear that the group has claimed the court system is set to collapse if changes are not made quickly. The ABA is calling for a court system similar to the Tax Courts. An Article I court system would be independent from the Justice Department. This move is opposed by the Justice Department though, claiming it would cause more delays as financial hurdles to do so might be insurmountable. A spokesperson went on to say that the number of cases completed had increased for a third consecutive year and steps were being taken to restore the efficiency and impartiality of the court systems.

The dysfunctional system has caused an increase in wait times and policies that aim to fast-track cases are not allocating enough funding to follow through. The report also points to an over-reliance on the use of video-conferencing as problematic. The report goes on to claim new policies undermine judges' abilities to act as a neutral arbitrator, thus politicizing their hiring and decision-making process.

While some immigrants into the country may have come in on an employment-based visa or through family immigration, others face significant hurdles before receiving their permanent visas to America. As policies change and cases stall in court, it might be worthwhile to speak to an experienced attorney to know what one's options for lawful immigration are.

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