Record 3 million cases clog U.S. immigration courts

MIAMI (AP) — Eight months after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States, a couple in their 20s sat in an immigration court in Miami with their three young children. Through an interpreter, they asked a judge to give them more time to find an attorney to file for asylum and not be deported back to Honduras, where gangs threatened them. Judge Christina Martyak agreed to a three-month extension, referred Aarón Rodriguéz and Cindy Baneza to free legal aid provided by the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami in the same courthouse — and their case remains one of the unprecedented 3 million currently pending in immigration courts around the United States. Fueled by record-breaking increases in migrants who seek asylum after being apprehended for crossing the border illegally, the court backlog has grown by more than 1 million over the last fiscal year and it’s now triple what it was in 2019, according to government data compiled by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. READ MORE: Texas blocked border agents attempting to save 3 migrants who drowned, U.S. officials say Judges, attorneys and migrant advocates worry that’s rendering an already strained system unworkable, as it often takes several years to grant asylum-seekers a new stable life and to deport those with no right to remain in the country. “Sometimes hope already sinks,” said Mayra Cruz after her case was also granted an extension by Martyak because the Peruvian migrant doesn’t have an attorney. “But here I’ve felt a bit safer,” added Cruz, who said she had to flee with only the clothes on her back with her partner and their children after repeated threats from gangs. About 261,000 cases of migrants placed in removal proceedings are pending in the Miami court — the largest docket in the country. That’s […]

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By Donato