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Immigration Law

At The Mercy Of The Courts

Max Siegelbaum, Mazin Sidahmed, DocumentedNY, Latino USA, May 13, 2020

"... In 2019, we set out to document the fallout from those changes, observing New York City’s immigration courts every single day for three months. When we began reporting this story, we knew the courts were struggling to keep up with the influx of cases and the pressure the Trump administration was putting on them. At the time, the administration had just set a case quota for all immigration judges to complete within the year — an effort to deal with the case backlog that had grown in New York State from about 65,000 uncompleted cases in fiscal year 2015 to roughly 124,000 in fiscal year 2019. We also knew that judges were setting bonds higher and that nationwide, being granted asylum was becoming harder. We wanted to see why, and how. We hired six reporters to take turns surveying New York’s immigration courts from when they opened until when they closed, five days a week, for three months. Their mandate was to try and watch as many individual immigration court proceedings as they could, and to document how the system was working — and how it wasn’t. Over that period, they were able to observe more than 200 hearings, which greatly informed this episode of Latino USA. ..."