An interesting article came out last week on the net about how local immigration courts are absolutely clogged with cases. New Jersey, with its nine immigration judges, reportedly has 9100 cases! The article is pretty insightful in that it sheds light on two issues that naturally grow out of this: one obvious problem is that given the backlog, “respondents” may have to wait a very long time for their day in court. If someone is out on immigration bond, and perhaps has little or no relief, the wait could arguably be a good thing, but what about the person who is stuck in detention? This molasses-like backlog impacts this class of people the most because their liberty and freedom of movement are very much restrained while awaiting proceedings. One factor that has contributed to this backlog is the number of prosecutions aimed at non-criminal aliens. Hopefully, ICE Director John Morton’s new enlightened memo will curb this abuse and focus the enforcement agency’s attention on the illegal criminal aliens who need to be apprehended, and not those who have been here for a number of years just trying to support themselves and their families.
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