immigration cases

Immigration Cases May be Overloading Federal Courts

By Peek & Toland on May 4, 2018

Concerns that immigration cases are overloading the federal courts may lead to the appointment of more judges.

A recent article in the National Review suggested the new tax reform bill could lead to the appointment of additional judges.

The article noted President Donald Trump appointed a mere eight of 169 federal appeals-court judges as of the end of 2017.Although judges have been hired in immigration courts, the backlog keeps on growing.

A report on TRAC Immigration noted that the backlog in the immigration courts continues to rise. As of the end of April 2017, the number of cases awaiting a decision hit an all-time high of 585,930.

immigration cases cause too much workload

Immigration cases overload courts

On average people with cases wait 670 days, and often have to wait much longer before their cases will be heard.

Nine courts face particularly challenging caseloads and account for a quarter of the backlog. Some parties are waiting more than four additional years before a hearing is scheduled. In San Francisco, the immigration court has nearly 42,000 backlogged cases. Some people are waiting for more than five additional years, a staggering 1,908 days longer, for their July 21, 2022 hearing date.

Over the past 18 months, the court has been adding new judges. That’s in sharp contrast to 2013 and 2014 when very few judges were added. A total of 79 new immigration judges were sworn in since November of 2015. Funding for a further additional 10 judges also has just been approved by Congress.

In 2017, we noted how the pressures on the immigration courts may increase dramatically under the Trump administration as more people go into deportation proceedings.

Texas has one of the most significant immigration case backlogs in the country.

Immigration courts had a backlog of 89,000 cases in Texas in 2016. In Houston alone, cases struck in the immigration courts rose from 6,423 to 36,136 from 2010 to 2016, according to the report.

We noted there are a mere six immigration judges on the bench in Houston. The immigration court’s caseload is expected to double by 2019 unless additional judges are taken on.

The backlogs rose during the Obama administration when deportations were ramped up. The emphasis on deportation has continued under the Trump administration.

The pressures on immigration courts mean legal proceedings involving undocumented immigrants are very stressful and can fragment families. Our Texas family immigration lawyers can help with your case. Call us today at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration

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Key U.S. Supreme Court Cases on Crime and Immigration in 2017

By Peek & Toland on February 21, 2018

Crime and immigration matter often dominate the deliberations of the highest court in the land and 2017 was no exception. The year saw a number of key U.S. Supreme Court cases to feature crime and immigration.

The alleged targeting of Muslims dominated the news in terms of President Trump’s attempts to impose a travel ban but claims of discrimination more than 15 years ago were also heard in the courtroom.

Major U.S. Supreme Court Caaes

U.S. Supreme Court cases in 2017

Constitutional Violations Against Officials

The Supreme Court rejected a damages suit brought against high-level federal officials, including a former FBI director and former attorney general.

The suit alleged they ordered a roundup of Muslim immigrants in New York after the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

In a 4-2 opinion, the justices said damages could not be awarded because they have not been authorized by Congress. Two justices of the then 8-member bench recused themselves.

The Trump Travel Ban

No fewer than three travel bans were imposed by the Trump administration against visitors from certain countries. They were all immediately appealed in the courts.

The U.S. Supreme court cleared the way for the Trump administration to enforce part of an executive order suspending for 90 days the entry of foreign visitors and refugees from six Muslim-majority nations.

The justices said the travel ban may not be enforced against foreign nationals with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with an entity or an individual in the United States.

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the third travel ban to proceed pending more detailed legal challenges. While the earlier bans had only targeted people from majority Muslim counties, North Korea, Venezuela and Chad were added to the list in the third ban.

Sex Offenders and Social Media

The high court unanimously struck down a North Carolina law that made it a crime for registered sex offenders to post a message on websites that may be used by minors. The case related to a Facebook post by a sex offender that was not of a sexual nature.

In the case of Packingham vs. North Carolina, the defendant was charged for posting the phrase “God is good” on his Facebook page after beating a traffic citation. The court struck down the law for being too wide and contrary to free speech.

Although 2017, saw some landmark decisions many important U.S. Supreme Court decisions on crime and immigration remained pending by the end of the year.

A case relating to whether U.S. border agent in Texas could be held liable for a fatal shooting across the border in Mexico was sent back to a Texas court for consideration.

The Supreme Court will re-hear a case to decide whether breaking into a garage or an empty home is a “crime of violence” requiring the deportation of a longtime legal immigrant, reported the Los Angeles Times.

If you require assistance with a crime or an immigration matter, please call Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445.


Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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The Biggest Immigration Cases in 2016

By Peek & Toland on February 14, 2017

There was no shortage of controversial immigration cases in 2016. With immigration a cornerstone of the new administration’s agenda, 2017 is also likely to be a frenetic year in the courts.

Law 360 recently profiled some of the biggest cases of 2016. Texas played a major role in what was undoubtedly the most significant legal battle of the year.

The biggest immigration cases of 2016

Texas Takes on the President

When President Barack Obama sought to extend his flagship immigration policy, he was blocked by Congress. He enacted executive orders on immigration, only to be blocked by Republican-led states. Texas was at the vanguard of the action. It was one of the biggest immigration cases of recent years.

The case of United States v. Texas concerned the fates of 4 million undocumented immigrants. Obama’s reforms would have bought many undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents temporary relief from deportation and the chance to work. It also entailed an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan to protect undocumented children of citizens or permanent resident.

Last summer the orders failed when the U.S. Supreme Court was split 4-4. Obama’s attempts to appoint a ninth justice also failed. The reform is set to become history under the presidency of Donald Trump who is a fierce opponent.

You can read more about United States v. Texas here on our website.

Key Syrian Refugee Case is Heard in Texas

Attempts by the authorities in Texas to prevent the resettling of Syrian refugees in the Lone Star State were thrown out in June.

A Texas federal court rejected the attempt to bar Syrians, stating that a Texas agency lacked the basis to enforce a consultation requirement under the Refugee Act. The ruling was the latest setback for states that sought to restrict refugee resettlement. Indiana was also barred from stopping the arrival of refugees from Syria.

The state of Texas filed a lawsuit against the federal government and a nonprofit that supports refugees.

Abuse of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program

The EB-5 investor visa program is an effective way of bringing overseas investment into the United States but it remains controversial.

In April in a high-profile immigration case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Vermont ski resort owners and executives accusing them of taking part in an eight-year scheme that took $350 million from investors who hoped to obtain visas through the EB-5 program.
Under the EB-5 program, overseas investors receive green cards in exchange for their investments. However, in rare cases, the investors have lost their money without receiving any immigration benefit.

Battles over Immigration Detention Centers

Immigration detention centers remained controversial in 2016, particularly when women and children were housed in them.

Grassroots Leadership from Austin, an immigrant advocate group, gained a temporary injunction prevented the award of a child care facility license to South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley.

Judge Karin Crump in Austin prevented the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from issuing a child care license to the center at Dilley. More than 400 women and children were released from two detention centers by the federal authorities in December.

Texas was pivotal in the most important immigration cases of 2016. It is expected to play a central part in immigration battles in 2017. Often the authorities will try to treat immigrants in an unlawful way. It’s necessary to hire an experienced Austin immigration lawyer to protect your rights. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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