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Lawmaker pushing for help for overworked immigration court

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Although a number of undocumented immigrants are entering the United States and heading away from the border to other states, including Maryland, the border states still see the largest numbers of immigrants in their populations. In one border state, a lawmaker is pushing for help for its overworked immigration court system. He has asked for money to fund additional judges and staff.

The United States currently has 260 judges who handle immigration matters. Most cases involving deportation are actually resolved quickly. However, sometimes individuals find themselves waiting for a judge's decision. Some of these people are trafficking or domestic violence victims who are waiting to receive green cards or who may be eligible for visas.

As people are made to wait, they often find it difficult to find much-needed relief and move forward from their situations. They may also struggle to receive interim benefits, such as work permits. Many of the new immigrants entering the nation are from Central America, although most of the people who are currently waiting on the decisions of judges come from Mexico. Not all who are affected are adults, cases specifically involving unaccompanied minors have grown to nearly 70,000 throughout the United States.

Immigrants who lack the proper paperwork and are waiting on their cases to be heard in immigration court may feel anxious about their futures. This is particularly true with immigration reform being a highly debated topic among politicians today. If the lawmaker gets the funding he has requested, immigrants awaiting decisions in the border state may find their wait time shortened, and, if he is successful in getting funding, it may push other states, such as Maryland, to increase their numbers of immigration judges as well.

Source: texastribune.org, "More Judges Sought for Growing Immigration Backlog", Julian Aguilar, June 17, 2015

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