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Immigration Courts feel the pinch of the Government Shutdown

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A new report released by CBS news estimates that the immigration court system could face a staggering backlog of more than one million cases, if the government shutdown extends into February and March.

According to the report, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky in particular will be the most affected, owing to a surge of Central American immigration that has caused significant backlogs in these state’ systems.

The government shutdown has now entered its 30th day, with no end in sight. Immigration judges have been forced to postpone hundreds of hearing that had been scheduled months or even years in advance. The only cases that have not been impacted by the shutdown are those of detained immigration seekers. All other non-detained individuals have had their hearings cancelled.

According to a study conducted by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), as of November 30, 2018, the immigration courts had a staggering backlog of more than 800,000 cases.

TRAC estimates that if the shutdown continues through the month of January, approximately 108,112 additional immigrants will have their hearings cancelled.

For as long as the shutdown continues, deportations will also grind to a halt. Without the necessary court hearings, judges cannot order deportations for individuals who do not have legal grounds to remain in the United States.