Calif. No. 1 for Immigration Case Backlog

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

February 12, 2016

A favored deception of immigration advocates is that America needs to “fix its broken immigration system.” The phrase is repeatedly used by pro-immigration politicians and lobbyists, and is widely understood to mean not that the system is broken because immigration laws haven’t been upheld for 30 years, but rather that amnesty for 12 million aliens is the only conceivable fix.

A handful of the nearly half-million illegal immigrants awaiting their hearing.

In its recent story, however, the Houston Press published a true picture of how disastrous unchecked immigration and an immigration system under assault from our leadership have been for the United States. As of December 15, California had 82,000 immigration cases pending, the nation’s largest backlog. Texas, in second place, had 77,000 unheard cases. Ranked by city, New York, Los Angeles and Houston had the most pending cases. The border surge of unaccompanied alien minors and their mothers has contributed to the mounting delay as the newly arrived have been assigned priority. According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Clearing House, at the end of August, more than 456,000 outstanding cases had overwhelmed immigration courts.

Almost all of the Texas cases have been reset for late 2019. Even assigned three years out, Denise Gilman, director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas, predicts that it will be impossible for the thousands of cases to be heard in 2019, increasing the probability that they will be pushed even further out on the calendar.

As immigration lawyer John Nechman summed it up, there are too many cases and not enough judges. Nechman also noted the Catch-22 in the immigration morass. The longer aliens remain, the more ingrained they become into American society, and the harder they become to deport, even if so ordered. On the other hand, if deported from the interior promptly, aliens charge that the federal government is breaking up families.

Nechman said that the caseload backlog “begs for a solution.” That’s an easy one. Implement border and interior enforcement. End inducements like sanctuary cities, driver licenses and free health care. Mandate E-Verify to ensure that only legally authorized workers hold U.S. jobs. Without those alluring magnets, illegal immigration would slow to a crawl, and the immigration judges’ caseloads would then shrink to manageable levels.

Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your representatives to support S 1842, Sen. Jeff Sessions’ Protecting American Lives Act, that will help end sanctuary cities by requiring state and local jurisdictions to collect detained aliens’ immigration information, and then share it with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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