New reports concerning the backlog of federal immigration courts may be a cause of concern to California immigrants detained by authorities. Reports show the court’s handling of undocumented immigrants’ cases are flawed and the caseloads are falling behind tremendously. Even in cases where the immigrant is not seeking asylum, immigrants could wait over a year and a half to have their cases adjudicated.

Some of those cases took over five years to finish. An analysis of the immigration courts showed delays that resulted in crowded court calendars, and performance reports may have even overstated the court’s ‘actual accomplishments.’ The reporting is said to be so inaccurate that the reason for the delays cannot be determined. The study and its findings are based on eight sample states and almost 2,000 immigration removal cases from approximately three years ago.

Over half of the cases had continuances granted to them, sometimes even up to four continuances, which resulted in over a year’s delay. Inaccuracies concerning the disposition of those cases were also reported. This is of great concern to immigrants currently in custody, and also for those who may not be. Those seeking asylum could be living in fear of returning to their countries, and with the delays, there is a fear of the unknown. Although the Justice Department made recommendations to help streamline the hearing process, it could be a while before any changes are implemented.

California immigrants detained by authorities could be held for years before their asylum or other cases are heard. Hopefully, changes will soon occur to help their cases move faster. For now, it may be in their best interests to seek out knowledgeable help. Doing so may help reduce their time in custody and/or help their cases move through the court system more rapidly.

Source: MySanAntonio.com, “Justice Department: Immigration courts are flawed, backlogged,” Gary Martin, Nov. 1, 2012