The Immigration Court backlog has reached half a million pending cases. Specifically, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review confirmed that there are now 500,051 pending immigration cases in the agency’s courts, which represents a steady rise in recent years.
Edward Shulman, Esq., founder of The Shulman Law Group, a New Jersey immigration law firm, was asked what this backlog means practically. He stated: “it breaks my heart to learn that many of my immigrant clients will likely face multi-year delays in their desperate quest to have an Immigration Judge rule on their cases. What is particularly worrisome is the fact that oft-times particular circumstances may change rendering critical parts of their case potentially less relevant at a future date, as in the case of hardship based upon a child who may no longer be a dependent in a couple of years or changes in the conditions of their countries of origin.”
There seems to be a counterintuitive twist to the situation in which undocumented immigrants “live” in the United States for years waiting to find out whether or not they can actually live in the United States. While some have referred to the backlogs as a sort of “de facto amnesty,” there is no doubt that the protracted wait times leave individuals in limbo causing more distress than comfort.