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Problems With Immigration Court Blog Ocala Immigration Attorney John Usher

Immigration Court Problems Continue

John N. Usher Aug. 4, 2022

Ocala Immigration Lawyer John Usher has this to say regarding the overwhelming issues surrounding immigration court today.  Over 10 years of experience fuel this informational blog post with information that pertains directly to anyone with an outstanding or upcoming immigration matter.  For those in need of an immigration law attorney in the Ocala and central Florida area, reach out to Usher Law Firm for a free consultation to see where you stand and how we can help.  Quality advise at reasonable prices and top-notch customer service. Immigration Court is a broken system. The reasons are numerous. The backlog of immigration cases is said to have tripled since 2017. There are 1,800,000 cases pending and there are not enough judges, government attorneys, administrators and supporting staff. As a result, there is a lot of inertia. Routine attorney filings, some of which might take a Judge 5 or 10 minutes to decide such as a Motion To Change Venue or a Motion to Substitute Counsel might not get a Judge’s attention for a year or more. The same is true for Joint Motions, which are requests made of a Judge that both the person in court and the government attorney agree some action would be appropriate for the Court to take. 

Recognizing just how overwhelmed the system is, recently there have been actions undertaken by ICE and by EOIR (the Executive Office for Immigration Review/”Immigration Court”) to reduce the caseload in Immigration Court. 

The “Doyle Memo” issued in April of this year by the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) provided new guidance to government attorneys as to which type of cases they should focus on. The directive states the enforcement priorities as; (1) threats to national security, (2) threats to public safety, and (3) threats to border security. Notably the third priority “border security” includes those apprehended at the border while trying to unlawfully enter the U.S. and/or those apprehended after unlawfully entering after November 1, 2020.

All other cases are subject to “prosecutorial discretion” which means the government is willing to terminate most of those cases. There are many, certainly hundreds of thousands of cases, that fall into this category. 

There is a procedure for people to request prosecutorial discretion however it is very important for a person in Immigration Court to understand what is best for them given their specific facts. Termination can be great in that, yes, it ends the threat of having a removal order issued but that does not mean a person is guaranteed work authorization (or in Florida, a driver’s license). For some people, it is better to NOT agree to termination as they have better chances of relief if their matter stays in Immigration Court. The point is right now there are more opportunities than ever before for people in Immigration Court and it is vital people get good guidance and act now while an opportunity exists.  For proper guidance, it is recommended that you reach out to us, Usher Law Firm, or a local attorney that is well versed in the current state of immigration law.

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