While debate rages on between the states and the federal government on the direction of American immigration policies, immigration cases stall as immigration courts delay processing the thousands of detentions and possible deportations of illegal immigrants in the United States.
Texas immigration courts alone have approximately 77,000 cases awaiting decisions, a 58 percent increase from 2014’s pending docket, according to a Syracuse University study.
Recently, Nevada Senator Harry Reid has introduced the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act which would ensure that immigrants at detention and border facilities have access to counsel and legal orientation programs to help detainees understand their legal rights.
Although the Act grants due process and well-deserved legal representation to unaccompanied minor migrants in the United States, its passage would necessarily slow down processing rates and further back up the docket.
It is unlikely Reid’s Act would pass in the Republican-controlled House and Senate, but opponents of the bill fear the possibility of executive actions which would essentially enforce the bill without it passing as binding law.
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform has commented that “Essentially, it’s a plan to tie up the courts for decades, instead of years, while forcing American taxpayers to foot the bill for endless litigation.”
U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Baytown, also said “With Harry Reid seeking to make things worse by expanding taxpayer-funded legal aid to nearly all illegals, our courts and localities are now at a breaking point. Instead of compounding the problem, it’s time the Obama administration restored the rule of law and started respecting the rights of its own citizens rather than illegal immigrants.”
Additionally, in 2014, some immigration courts reset thousands of cases on narrow dockets scheduled for 2019, with detractors commenting on the impossibility of hearing that many cases in 2019 and forecasting further delays.