U.S. Immigration Courts Are Broken. These 5 Charts Show Why.
Produced by Alexander Stockton
VICE News Tonight on HBO
Border patrol agents took more than 130,000 people into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border in May, the highest number in 13 years.
From there, the migrants, largely families from Central America who crossed the border illegally, will be moved to overcrowded processing centers, and then to long-term detention centers and shelters, some of which have faced accusations of abuse, inadequate medical care, and lack of legal representation.
What they won’t get is an answer on whether they can stay in the U.S. That’s because there are already 892,517 cases pending in immigration courts, which have been waiting for an average of 726 days, or just about two years.
This wasn’t always the case. The backlog really started to take off in 2006, when there were only 168,827 pending cases waiting for an average of just 406 days.
“This is a backlog that has been building for years and years, over many administrations,” Judge Dana Leigh Marks, president emerita of the National Association of Immigration Judges, told VICE News.
How did we get here? Here’s the story of how the system broke down: