There are an estimated 750,000 cases on the immigration court’s dockets here in the U.S. This is often why the court releases individuals with pending immigration or deportation cases from detention. It can take months or years for cases to process through this legal system once you tack on administrative delays and appeals.
A significant backload of cases isn’t the only aspect of the immigration court system that’s unique. There are a few others that you should know about as they may affect the adjudication of your case.
Immigration court records aren’t accessible online
Most court systems keep court filings online; however, that’s not the case with the immigration one. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials don’t publish detainees’ names, yet they do place that information along with an immigrant’s county of origin on their paper case file. You must, therefore, visit the court in person to look for any information about a detainee’s case there.
A file might not clearly list an immigrant’s offense
Many individuals who successfully locate a case file at the courthouse find it hard to determine an immigrant’s charges as immigration agents generally don’t put such information in the file.
The immigration court doesn’t provide public defenders
Criminals have a constitutional right to receive representation by a public defender. That’s not the case if you’re facing immigration violations, though. Immigrants have two options in such instances; they can either represent themselves in court or hire a private attorney to do the same.
Where to turn for questions about how the immigration court works
It can be hard finding out information about how the immigration court system works. The insight that an attorney can provide about this can be invaluable as you await your next hearing in your case.