The ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government is delaying thousands of immigration cases across the country as the Department of Justice struggles with an increasing backlog with diminished resources.
ABC News reports that some immigration courts have closed down amid the shutdown, resulting in indefinite delays. Tens of thousands of cases involving asylum applications and other immigration claims remain in limbo as the partial shutdown stretches toward a third week.
Immigration judges told the network that the delays were making a massive backlog of cases worse, and making President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE's goal of a secure border harder to achieve.
"It is extremely frustrating," said Amiena Khan, vice president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. "There is a tremendous amount of irony to all of this. As the government is shut down for this process to ensure greater border security, look at what it's doing to our system as a whole."
It was reported in December that the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) informed thousands of immigration attorneys without warning that their cases would be postponed.
"Immigration courts will issue an updated notice of hearing to respondents or, if applicable, respondents’ representatives of record for each reset hearing," a statement from EOIR read at the time, adding that cases would be "reset for a later date after funding resumes."
Attorneys complained at the time that the lack of notice and communication from EOIR had left many immigrants and their attorneys in the dark about the future of their cases.
"If it wasn’t for connecting with other attorneys on Twitter and calling the court myself, I’d have no clue what’s going on @DOJ_EOIR," wrote Kishen Barot, an attorney with the African Hispanic Immigration Organization (AHIO), on Twitter in December.