Houston Matters

What’s Behind Houston’s Immigration Court Backlog?

Tough talk about protecting the border doesn’t mean much if immigration courts can’t process cases. Area immigration attorney Alexandre Afanassiev says that process used to take about six months. These days, it can take years. In fact, he says cases he’s working on are being scheduled for court dates into 2019. Why? Well, there might […]

Tough talk about protecting the border doesn't mean much if immigration courts can't process cases.

Area immigration attorney Alexandre Afanassiev says that process used to take about six months. These days, it can take years. In fact, he says cases he's working on are being scheduled for court dates into 2019.

Why? Well, there might be more than one reason for this ongoing – and growing – backlog. To discuss it we talk with two guests: Afanassiev, a partner with Quan Law Group, and Houston Chronicle reporter Lomi Kriel.

In her reporting, Kriel found immigration court cases in Texas were delayed an average of 439 days as of last summer. That’s a dramatic change from a decade ago. She says there were more than 37,000 pending cases in Houston — the highest in the state — for only five judges. Statewide, Texas has nearly 84,000 pending cases, second only to California.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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