The Chicago immigration court has only 10 judges who preside over thousands of cases in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Prior to COVID, there was already a backlog of immigration cases waiting for an appearance before a judge. Chicago’s immigration court continued to hear some cases during the COVID outbreak, but the hearings were virtual. COVID resulted in already backlogged courts being closed to the public, and once courts are re-opened, judges anticipate the Chicago immigration court backlog to be as long as 5 years.
Chicago Immigration Judge Samuel Cole said it will be at least mid-June before Chicago immigration courts fully re-open. Individuals who are detained in detention centers and county jails can expect a 3 to 6-month wait for a hearing. Due to the pandemic, cases that did not involve detainees were put on hold. Judge Cole told reporters the Executive Office of Immigration did not hire enough judges:
“You have lots of cases heard in one session by a court. There’s status hearings. There are a lot of people. It’s not unusual to have 100 people brought into a court for one particular judge. There are lots of people, lots of opportunities to interact and in terms of the public health issue, they present real challenges.”
Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy said the current court backlog makes it even more critical that immigrants in detention and facing immigration charges contact an experienced immigration lawyer:
The immigration court backlog means the system is overwhelmed and strained, and there is pressure to resolve cases quickly. Someone can be detained without being charged with any crime. If you or someone you love is detained and risks deportation, you need an experienced immigration lawyer who understands the court system to fight for your rights and give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.
If you are a non-citizen who is detained there may be forms of relief and deportation defenses that apply to your situation. A competent and experienced deportation defense lawyer can help you fight against deportation.
Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties. You should meet with an experienced immigration attorney to help and represent you in your immigration case. Please contact the Chicago immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office at 855-554-6369.