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Backlog in immigration cases

California residents may be concerned by the slow movement of immigration cases for those seeking legal residency status in the United States. The court system has been overwhelmed with cases related to Central American women and children surging into the country in recent months, and these cases have particularly been given a priority status. As women and unaccompanied minor children receive attention, others have had their hearings rescheduled for late November 2019.

Officials associated with the Executive Office for Immigration Review have indicated that the postponed hearing dates allow cases to continue on the court's docket. However, dates are likely to be adjusted based on the progress with the family-based immigration cases now being given attention. In addition to the delays occurring because of the increased influx of Central Americans, a shortage of judges is contributing to the backlog. Hearings for cases that have been deemed to be non-priority issues have been canceled in high numbers. Meanwhile, individuals who are waiting for decisions have had their lives temporarily put on hold. Some are concerned about the possibility of deportation as they wait for legal status. Others are dealing with an inability to leave the country for family concerns or other interests.

In some instances, individuals who are legally residing in the country but facing possible deportation because of procedural matters or minor crimes are now uncertain of their futures. Individual circumstance may vary, and some are still able to work based on their permit status as the backlog is addressed. However, the potential for warm-weather surges in immigration may lead to even longer delays in resolving cases.

A legal immigrant who is dealing with procedural issues that could result in deportation may want to enlist the help of an attorney to begin the process of resolving such problems. Although the system may be backlogged, timely filing of appropriate paperwork may be important for achieving a favorable resolution in the future.

Source: Huffington Post, "Immigrants Could Wait Until 2019 To Have Cases Resolved", Seth Robbins, Feb. 2, 2015

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber