Backlog at ICE Offices Leaves Asylum Seekers Waiting for Up to a Decade
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is facing a major backlog in immigration proceedings due to a surge in migrants seeking asylum.
ICE offices around the country are reporting massive backlogs, with no availability for years, which is creating an issue where asylum seekers could fly under the U.S.
government’s radar for years.
In New York City, for example, the next available appointment to begin the immigration court process is in 2032, which is nearly a decade away.
According to a report, the stretched-out process for migrants who try to cross the border with asylum claims means that millions of people are waiting to see an immigration judge, including those who are truly seeking asylum in the United States because they’re being persecuted by their government for religious or political reasons.
Unfortunately, those people are stuck in the same line as those who likely will not qualify for asylum and who came to the U.S.
more for economic reasons.
In 2021, the Biden administration changed the process so that migrants can go to the office closest to where they decide to live while awaiting their processing.
They can be seen by that local ICE agency, but there is still a chance that they may not be able to see everyone who reports.
New York City’s ICE office has an appointment list of more than 39,000 non-citizens, and they’re not the only clogged office.
New York City is followed by Jacksonville, Florida’s office, and the Miramar office just north of Miami.
While awaiting their appointments, migrants are often given ankle bracelets or have GPS trackers put on their phones to get around the long waits.
Some awaiting their hearings are opting to shop different locations that are less backlogged.
The problem is bound to compound with states like Texas and Florida sending busloads of migrants to non-border states.
Since last spring, more than 43,000 asylum seekers have been sent to New York City alone.
The backlog at ICE offices is a downside for people who have legitimate claims for refugee status or asylum cases because it’ll be years before those cases are heard.
The issue is further exacerbated by the lack of resources in big cities, including a shortage of judges and time to hear cases.