Two immigration judges, Denise Noon Slavin, left, and Dana Leigh Marks, are seeking to have their courts delinked from Justice and made independent like other court systems. Two top federal judges Wednesday said the nation’s immigration courts are in chaos, with the backlog of cases at an historic high of 375,000 for just 227 judges, leading to a minimum three-year delay in hearings for illegal immigrants.
In Washington to take advantage of the current crisis to demand a new court system, the judges accused the Justice Department of treating their courts like Cinderella’s abusive family by starving them of money and support and blamed the insufficient Justice funding for letting illegals “linger” in the country.
“Immigration courts are the forgotten stepchild,” said Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks of San Francisco. She was speaking on behalf of the National Association of Immigration Judges, which she is president of.
Fellow Judge Denise Noonan Slavin, the vice president of the judge’s union, said that the courts have the “status of Cinderella,” having to scrounge for supplies, support and money. She said that the lack of money forces judges to delay cases and that is “allowing those who are not entitled to be here, linger.”
During their appearance at a National Press Club event, they also said that the defense lawyers President Obama promised in June have not shown up. Obama pledged $2 million to Americorps, which was to supply the legal aid.
Asked if she had seen any yet, Marks said, “We have not.” Slavin, of Miami, said, “We haven’t seen an impact.”