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Houston Chronicle
March 15, 2016

Houston immigration courts overwhelmed as backlog quintuples
By Lomi Kriel

The backlog in Houston's overwhelmed downtown immigration court grew more than 4 60 percent between 2010 and 2016, swelling from about 6,400 to 36,100 pending cases, according to a new analysis released Tuesday. With only six immigration judges on the bench, Houston's court could see its case load double again in three years if no more are added, found the report by Human Rights First, a national nonprofit. In six years, the number of pending cases across the country could reach more than 1 million, more than double what it is now. The backlog means that both immigrants with a valid claim to stay in the United States and those who should be quickly deported wait years to have their cases resolved. In Houston, an average immigration case can take more than two years to wind its way through the process, but many immigrants and asylum seekers wait five years, according to the report. Texas immigration courts have the highest backlog in the country after California, which has nearly 82,000 cases pending, according to an analysis of court records by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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