The President announced a temporary end to the partial government shutdown on Friday, which should help morale among the nation’s 400 immigration judges. They were watching dockets, already a nightmare, get worse as many worked without pay and some sat at home for a month. Now that the government is assured of remaining open for at least a few weeks the judges can get back to tackling the backlog, but they’re not going to be able to solve the problem.
There are major flaws in the system, immigration judge Mark Metcalf tells KTRH News. “You address those defects by, one – getting more judges. The other way you fix it is by insisting on border security so you add to the backlog with more cases.”
As of November 30 last year, the backlog was at more than 800,000 cases, and is expected to cross the seven-digit mark next month.
Metcalf says when Presdeint George W. Bush left office there were 186,000 cases waiting to be heard, but after Presidents Obama and Trump’s first two years the number has grown exponentially. With the present docket sizes and the backlog he says we’re probably already across the one million mark in backlogs.
Metcalf says among those hurt by a poorly functioning system are those people who followed the rules and are in the process of applying for immigration papers, but could find themselves behind illegals. “They could jump ahead of those who patiently waited for the same things that the illegal entrant is trying to take by coming to the United States without permission,” says Metcalf.