Hispanic Caucus Demands to Meet with USCIS Over Immigration Case Backlog
The backlog of immigration court cases has soared more than 26% to 830,000 cases, meaning more migrants are waiting longer before getting a hearing. In early March, the administration paused its hiring of immigration judges and slowed its procurement of support staff and canceling a training conference. To make matters more urgent, Donald Trump has lately questioned the asylum process for immigrants, saying that “we have to get rid of judges.” In light of the growing backlog, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) has called on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director L. Francis Cissna to meet with the Caucus and discuss how the agency’s policy implementations have hindered the processing of cases for U.S. residents and immigrants, worsened the immigration case backlog, and furthered the enforcement of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. The letter was led by CHC Chair Joaquín Castro (D-TX) and signed by Immigration Task Force Chair Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) along with Representatives Rubén Gallego (D-AZ), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Verónica Escobar (D-TX). The lawmakers said that USCIS now functions as an extension of Trump’s “immigration enforcement regime instead of a service-oriented agency devoted to processing immigration benefits for those deserving of them.” They also said the new policy against foreign students and visitors who unintentionally commit minor status violations will lead individuals eager to contribute to the U.S. socially and economically into deportation proceedings instead. “Instead of focusing on processing cases fairly and efficiently, your agency appears concentrated on diverting as many applicants and petitioners as possible into the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the lawmakers wrote. Read the full letter here.