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Dallas News
April 10, 2018

Immigration judges, attorneys worry that Sessions’ quotas will cut into justice in clogged court system
By Dianne Solis

The National Association of Immigration Judges has long argued that the immigration courts should be taken out of the Department of Justice, a law enforcement agency, and given real independence and more resources. Proponents of the quotas point to the need to reduce the exploding backlog of cases. Colorado leads the nation with the longest wait time to get a case resolved, about 1,000 days, according to the Syracuse University-based Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC. Texas comes in third, after Illinois. In Dallas immigration courts, cases move at a faster clip than Texas as a whole at about 560 days compared to about 900 days for the whole state, according to TRAC. But even the Dallas number has been climbing for several years. Faster decision-making could cut the backlog, but it also has many worried about fairness. The pressure for speed means immigrants would have to move quickly to find an attorney. Without an attorney, the likelihood of deportation increases. Nationally, about 58 percent of immigrants are represented by attorneys, according to Syracuse's research center. But in Texas, only about a third of the immigrants have legal representation.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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