Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers Discuss U.S. Immigration Court System Crisis: Decisions Made “On the Spot” Due to Overcrowding

The average time an immigration judge has to make a decision for each case they hear is seven minutes. In that short time a judge must decide whether the person standing in front of them will be separated from family, be sent back to a country where his or her life may be in danger, or remain in prison for an indefinite sentence.  At the end of 2013 alone, over 350,000 immigration cases were still pending, waiting to be heard by just 249 judges.

According to an article that recently appeared in the Washington Post, the immigration court system in the United States is so over crowded and stressed that many immigrants have their fates decided without ever physically entering a courtroom or speaking to a judge.  To ease the burden of the strained judicial workload, officials have devised ways to resolve cases quickly.  Some immigrants appear in court via a video conference from jail, while others give up their right to a hearing so that they can be released from prison.  Immigration officials are glad to expedite these cases, but is justice really being served?

Many immigrants are not provided with the same legal protections that American citizens have to ensure a fair judgment.  Immigrants who cannot afford a lawyer to represent them are not appointed one by the court, and evidence that was illegally attained can be used against the defendant.  The appeal process is also minimized for immigrants who are sentenced to deportation.

Immigration Reform Bill Passed by the Senate Awaits House Support

What frustrates most advocates for immigration reform is the fact that the U.S. Senate passed a bill last year that would greatly improve the immigration judicial system, but it has been sitting in the House awaiting approval since the spring of 2013.  House Democrats and House Republicans are at odds at how quickly the changes proposed in the immigration reform bill will take place.  Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security continues to increase its effort to enforce immigration laws, further burdening the already overworked immigration court system.  In the year 2012, over 400,000 immigration cases were presented to the courts.

Proponents for the immigration reform bill are seeking the same judicial process and protections for immigrants that ensure a just legal system for citizens in our country.The bill would provide immigrants with access to legal counsel, representation for children, the right to a fair trial, and the opportunity for judicial review of cases for those facing deportation.The bill will also allow an increase in the number of judges, resources, and trained support staff available in the immigration court system.

The Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers of Surin & Griffin, P.C. Represent Clients in all Areas of Immigration and Naturalization Law Issues

If you or someone you know is facing an immigration issue, seeking the counsel of an experienced and knowledgeable Philadelphia immigration lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected at every step in the legal process.  Immigration laws are often overwhelming, especially when you are seeking asylum or facing the possibility of deportation.  The team of highly skilled and qualified Philadelphia citizenship attorneys at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are dedicated to providing you with the support and legal protection you deserve.

The Philadelphia immigration law firm of Surin & Griffin, P.C. is a multi-lingual law firm that speaks your language.  Call us today at 215-925-4435, or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.