Immigration crackdown creates backlog

Dec. 13, 2010 at 12:10 PM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A crackdown on illegal immigrants has created such a backlog of cases that judges in Georgia have scheduled hearings into 2013, officials said.

The federal government recently hired two additional judges for Georgia's immigration courts and plans to add two more to deal with a backlog of 6,601 cases, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The U.S. Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review oversees the nations 270 immigration judges and 59 courts. It said it is working to mitigate the backlog.

"The increase of the number of immigration judges will help to mitigate ... (the) pending caseload," the executive office said.

Some wonder if the government's effort to move immigrants more quickly through the judicial process is enough.

"I don't think it is going to have any impact whatsoever," said Atlanta-area immigration attorney Charles Kuck. "We probably are four or five judges short here in Atlanta."

Kuck is past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

A Syracuse University study said as of Sept. 27, there were 261,083 pending immigration cases in the nation; Georgia ranked 11th among states based on its pending caseload.

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