Maryland residents have likely heard about immigration actions that President Trump has been signing. In an effort to increase the number of deportations, Trump issued orders for more federal agents on the U.S.- Mexico border and the construction of new immigration detention centers. However, some people argue that what the immigration system actually needs are more immigration judges.
There is currently a record-breaking number of pending deportation cases but very few immigration judges to conduct hearings. According to data gathered by Syracuse University researchers, there are currently over 533,000 people awaiting hearings in their deportation cases. With just over 300 immigration judges in the whole country, the average immigrant that is facing deportation waits close to two years before spending just seven minutes before a judge.
Immigration advocates have argued that Trump’s call for a greater focus on deportations could further overload an already backlogged immigration court system. With judges facing even larger caseloads, an immigrant facing deportation may be denied the opportunity to have a fair trial. Immigrants who do not have attorneys to prepare their cases are at an even greater risk for being deported.
Studies have shown that immigrants who have attorneys when they are facing deportation are much more likely to have successful outcomes than immigrants who represent themselves. A U.S. immigration law attorney may be able to help an immigrant to apply for deportation relief and delay the deportation process. If an immigrant is being held in a detention center, an attorney may help to argue for the immigrant’s release in order to better prepare for the hearing.