U.S. immigration courts overwhelmed by migrants awaiting hearings

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar says the U.S. immigration courts are overwhelmed by migrants waiting for a hearing.

“There are times where they have to wait two, three, four years before they go in front of a judge,” says Cuellar.

Congress set aside funding to hire 100 additional immigration judges in the latest spending bill, bringing the number of authorized immigration judges to 534 but Cuellar says there’s still a big problem.

“The courtrooms have not matched the number of judges,” says Cuellar.
Right now, there are only 426 courtrooms, which means more than 100 judges are having a hard time doing their jobs.

Congress has set aside more than $5 billion this year for the upkeep and construction of federal buildings. Cuellar says he wants to use some of this money to rent and construct federal courtrooms.

New Mexico Democrat Deb Haaland says this will speed up the asylum process and decrease the backlog of cases.

“It will do every bit of good to make sure we are processing all those cases in a legal way, in a fair way,” says Haaland.

Cuellar says the added space can be used for judges to hear immigrants in person or by video conference.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.