Although this past October 17th marked the one-year anniversary of the end of the federal government’s two-week shutdown, the event is still impacting thousands waiting for relief in immigration courts. This brief shutdown had a huge impact on the caseload for immigration judges. Out of the 58 courts that deal with immigration cases nationwide, 16 of these were shut down. This led to 70% of cases being put on hold. A backlog of pending immigration cases is not new for the courts, but January marked a record high for number of cases awaiting court review. As of January 2014, there were 360,000 immigration cases pending. This number is almost double the amount of cases that were pending in 2011. The pain and insecurity this backlog brings for those waiting to hear about the status of their case is obvious, however, there is a bright side to this current situation.
Since October 2013, immigration judges have ruled in favor of immigrants in about half of the total cases heard. A 50-50 chance may sound discouraging, but this is a major improvement from the 48% success rate immigrants experienced prior to 2013. A mere 2% increase means a favorable result for thousands more. How can the effect of this positive trend be maximized? The answer is with the help of an experienced immigration lawyer at JRQ & Associates.
A new pilot program in New York, which provides representation to immigrant detainees, demonstrates the positive effect professional legal representation can have on an immigration case. The new program, slated to run for one year, provides free legal representation to low-income immigrants who are currently detained and facing deportation. This revolutionary program aims to prevent deportations that shouldn’t be occurring. Proponents of the program say that attorney representation makes the hearings more efficient and more likely to succeed in favor of the immigrants. In a study done by the program, detainees representing themselves were successful only 3% of the time, versus 18% of the time for those represented by an attorney. This difference is particularly impressive because the success rate for immigrants who are detained is extremely low, as contrasted to the overall rate for all immigrants, which is today about 50%. The results of this landmark program are clear: attorney representation is linked to both higher success rates and better efficiency in backlogged immigration courts.
Although the current situation regarding the amount and length of time that immigration cases are pending remains bleak, the trend towards more favorable results for those awaiting a decision is the silver lining.
The United States immigration and naturalization laws can be complicated. Everyone's situation is different, and no one solution is correct for every person. The experienced immigration attorneys at JRQ & Associates can evaluate your situation and help you get the resolution that you need. Our immigration attorneys can assist in many midwestern states including Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and others. Contact us to set up your free lawyer consultation or to find out more about the services we can provide you. Contact Us.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general purposes only and should not be interpreted to indicate a certain result will occur in your specific legal situation. This information is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.