immigration courts

Immigration Lawyers File Complaint About El Paso Immigration Court

By Peek & Toland on May 16, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association recently filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) about the judges at the El Paso Servicing Center. In their complaint, the lawyers state that the bias of these judges against their clients is preventing them from having fair hearings. The complaint relies heavily on statistics on the approval of asylum petitions at this location.

In FY 2017, the judges in the El Paso court approved only four of the 92 asylum cases that it heard, which is an approval rate of 4.5%. In FY 2016, the judges in this location approved asylum in three out of 133 cases. The nationwide average for the approval of asylum petitions by immigration courts is 40%.

Immigration Lawyers File Complaint About El Paso Immigration Court

The complainants also state that the judges are openly rude and hostile to their clients, treating them all with contempt. Furthermore, the judges have imposed an arbitrary 100-page limit on evidence in support of asylum claims and now require that all evidence be submitted prior to even scheduling a hearing. This requirement places a hardship on these immigrants, who often must request written documentation from their distance home countries. As a result, immigrants must either proceed and request a trial date based on the evidence they already have, or wait for more evidence, which only prolongs the court date and their detention, which may become indefinite.

Furthermore, Judge Abbott rarely grants bonds in asylum cases, which gives these immigrants little access to counsel, even by pro bono attorneys. While about 66% of non-detained individuals have the benefit of attorney representation, only about 14% of detained immigrants have an attorney. In assessing whether to grant bond, Abbott reportedly considers the strength of the immigrants’ asylum claim rather than assessing whether immigrants are flight risks or dangers to the community. Our Texas immigration lawyers are here to offer you the experienced legal representation and advice that you need in order to resolve your immigration law matter. We can act as your guide through the complicated immigration process to obtain the relief that you are seeking. Call our office today and learn about the type of assistance we can offer you.

Posted in Immigration

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Federal Government’s Plan for Reducing Immigration Court Backlog

By Peek & Toland on April 25, 2019

The American Immigration Council (AIC) recently received the results of its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which concerned the federal government’s comprehensive plan to reduce the staggering immigration court case backlog. The AIC’s analysis of the government plan, unfortunately, has led it to conclude that rather than increasing the efficiency of the immigration court system, the plan is to fundamentally alter the immigration system.

Pointing to the policies that the Trump administration already has put into place to drastically speed up deportations, the AIC claims that much of the comprehensive plan is designed to achieve the same goal. Some of the examples of the government’s focus on hastening the deportation process include the imposition of annual caseload quotas on immigration judges and the placement of limits on the ability of judges to continue and administratively close cases. The AIC also pointed to various opinions issued by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and EOIR policy changes that further limit the independence of immigration judges, as well as directives that curb the ability of individuals to seek continuances in order to retain legal counsel.

Federal Government’s Plan for Reducing Immigration Court Backlog

The AIC further pointed out that the federal government partially redacted the version of the plan that it received, even though it is a final agency document signed by the Deputy Attorney General. As these documents normally would be public, the AIC found it curious that the Trump administration would redact any portion of the plan. Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration law matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.

Posted in Immigration Reform

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Immense Backlog Overwhelming Immigration Courts in Texas

By Peek & Toland on March 14, 2019

According to a Houston Public Media report, there is a historic number of pending immigration cases in Texas immigration courts, as well as in most courts nationwide. Texas courts have a backlog of 119,000 cases, a number that has grown by 30,000 cases since September 2018. Over the last two years, the number of pending cases nationwide has grown by almost 50%.

Some attribute the steadily increasing backlog of cases to the Trump administration’s many policy changes, including removing the authority of immigration judges to administratively close cases. The focus on deporting all illegal immigrants, as opposed to just those with criminal records, also has increased the number of deportation cases substantially. Many court dockets have been reshuffled and reallocated, which hasn’t helped the situation.

Immense Backlog Overwhelming Immigration Courts in Texas

As a result, immigrants are spending longer times in detention, as it now takes 173 days, on average, to resolve a pending immigration case. In some courts, court dates have been scheduled out to 2022. Houston immigration courts, alone, now have an increased backlog of more than 53,000 cases.
The backlogs of immigration cases only increased during the historically long partial government shutdown. The courts had no choice during that time period to push off hearings, some for months or years. During the shutdown, the immigration courts handled only the cases of detained immigrants; non-detained immigrants saw their cases put on hold indefinitely. Once the shutdown ended, the courts began the tedious process of rescheduling all of hearings.

The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal representation of countless individuals facing various immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys today.

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How America’s Busy Immigration Courts Would Swell Under Trump

By Peek & Toland on April 26, 2017

The nation’s immigration courts already face massive backlogs for deportation hearings. The pressures are predicted to grow further under the pro-deportation presidency of Donald Trump.

An article on 89.3 KPCC stated the burdens on the courts may grow exponentially over the next few months.

The station said America’s immigration courts were burdened by a backlog of half a million cases before Trump’s inauguration. The pressures in 2016 were unprecedented.

Cases being put on the calendar years from their initial hearing. More than 526,000 cases were stuck in the system stated the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. California alone has 100,000 cases with wait times of 2-4 years.

Immigration courts face a massive backlog

Immigration courts face a massive backlog

Last year, we noted Texas has one of the largest immigration case backlogs in the country.

Immigration courts have a backlog of 89,000 cases in the Lone Star State. In Houston alone, the number of cases held up in the courts rose from 6,423 to 36,136 from 2010 to 2016, according to the report.

The backlogs reflect an increased emphasis on deportations that took place under Barack Obama’s presidency. Trump has vowed to increase the size of the deportation force by employing an extra 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 10,000 immigration officers.

Jennifer Chacón, a law professor at the University of California, warned the crisis was likely to hit in 2017. She said:

“This is the year that the crisis really came to a head. We’ve had growing backlogs, but people are getting their cases calendered for years from now.”

Reports also point out there are too few judges to cope with the demands facing the immigration courts.

We noted there are just six immigration judges on the bench in Houston. The immigration court’s caseload is predicted to double by 2019 without more judges being taken on.

Funding for the immigration courts has continuously lagged behind that of federal enforcement, according to the Houston Chronicle. The publication states the courts are still struggling with the mass migration from Central America to the United States in 2014 when many unaccompanied children flooded over the border.

The pressure on immigration courts has made legal proceedings involving undocumented immigrants increasingly stressful and fragmented families. Our Texas family immigration lawyers can help with your case. Call us today at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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