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January 4, 2019

Immigration courts at a standstill during government shutdown, undermining President Trump's agenda
By Carmin Chappell

Since the Justice Department's funding ran out on Dec. 22, all of the approximately 400 immigration judges, who adjudicate a backlog of over 800,000 pending cases, have been furloughed. While court hearings will proceed for immigrants held in detention centers, all other hearings scheduled during the shutdown will be rescheduled, the Executive Office for Immigration Review said in a statement. The statement did not specify a time-frame for new court dates. When requesting comment for this story, an automated message from the Justice Department said that inquiries "may not be returned until funding is restored." The average wait time for immigration court hearings is 718 days, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Courts in San Antonio and Chicago have the longest waits at more than 1,500 days, or over 4 years.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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