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Wisconin Public Radio (WPR)
March 21, 2024

‘It’s desperate’: Thousands of immigrants in Wisconsin are in court without lawyers
By Sarah Lehr

“They haven’t had the budget to increase the number of immigration judges and support staff that are needed to hold hearings and make decisions compared to increasing the budget, for example, for the Border Patrol,” she said.
More than 20,000 people living in Wisconsin have immigration cases pending that could result in deportation. But the vast majority of those people won’t be represented by an attorney. Nationwide, there’s a ballooning number of cases stuck in immigration court, and a ballooning need for immigration lawyers. In 2019, there were more than 1 million pending U.S. immigration cases. Now, that backlog has more than tripled to surpass 3 million cases. Sue Long directs Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, which analyzed that federal data. She says the backlog has been decades in the making because funding to keep the courts running hasn’t kept up with enforcement.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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