The review of some 300,000 deportation cases in the nation's backlogged immigration courts recently led to some confusing headlines after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that about 16,500 pending cases would be temporarily put on hold, which some translated into these cases being "shelved."
But that's not exactly how it works. As the review process continues, there are no guarantees for those so far deemed eligible for relief. And even for the few spared removal to date, the future is uncertain.
Here's some of the recently released ICE data on the deportation reviews, followed by an explanation of what it means. From ICE:
• In total, ICE has reviewed 219,554 pending cases with approximately 16,544, or 7.5%, identified as amenable for prosecutorial discretion as of April 16, 2012.
Photo by s_falkow/Flickr (Creative COmmons)
A new report from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York details a troubling finding: Of the immigrants being represented by attorneys in deportation proceedings, a large percentage aren't getting what even judges consider adequate representation.
Titled "Accessing Justice," the study from the law school at Yeshiva University in Manhattan takes in immigration cases in New York, with input from the judges who hear these cases. From a New York Times story:
Immigrants received “inadequate” legal assistance in 33 percent of the cases between mid-2010 and mid-2011 and “grossly inadequate” assistance in 14 percent of the cases, the judges said.
They gave private lawyers the lowest grades, while generally awarding higher marks to pro bono counsel and those from nonprofit organizations and law school clinics.
Source: Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
The time it takes for immigration courts to decide cases continues to stretch, with average wait times getting longer by the year lately, according to a new report. And longest waits are in Los Angeles.
This is according to federal data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University in New York, which keeps tabs on federal enforcement spending.
According to the report released today, average immigration court wait times grew longer during the first six months of federal fiscal year 2011, which began last Oct. 1. During this time the average wait for an immigrant's case to be decided reached 302 days, a jump of 7.5 percent in the last six months and almost 30 percent higher than the average time it took in FY 2009.
Some courts have far worse backlogs than others. From the report: