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Backlog in courts causes delays re adjustment of status

Many immigrant advocates in Florida and elsewhere say the U.S. government can and should do a better job of processing immigration cases. It can be quite challenging to obtain an adjustment of status. However, some say it does not have to so difficult, and the reason it is has more to do with a backlog in the courts than anything else.

There are currently close to 900,000 cases pending in immigration courts throughout the United States. Many of these cases have been "sitting" in limbo for nearly two years. Some say one of the biggest problems is that there are not enough judges to handle the current caseload. It may take several years to hire and train a new immigration judge, so if the number of cases continues to increase without a similar increase in the number of judges, it does not take long for there to be more cases than the existing judges can handle.

Some say they are glad that more than 400 new immigration judges have been hired since 2017. It is logical to assume that with more judges in the immigration courts, it will not take as long to fully adjudicate the cases that are awaiting due process. In the past, many judges used administrative closure to remove criminal cases from their dockets, which meant the undocumented people involved were no longer at risk for deportation and also meant that court resources were freed up to address other backlogged cases. The administrative closure option no longer exists.

It is understandable that a Florida immigrant seeking adjustment of status who is "stuck" in the system due to backlogs in immigration courts might feel frustrated. It is a good idea to discuss one's situation with an experienced U.S. immigration law attorney. Such an attorney can provide support to make sure a case is being processed as swiftly as possible.

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