Immigrating to the United States is a long process filled with paperwork, documents and lots and lots of waiting. Unfortunately, that waiting is only getting worse by the day. Because of several factors — including a now record government shutdown — immigration hearings in Louisiana and across the rest of the country are taking longer to get to than ever before.
Several U.S. immigration courts are currently closed and unable to process or handle the individuals who are waiting. These closures have largely affected those whose status is currently in limbo, leaving tens of thousands of individuals unsure of their future. This includes those who are potentially facing deportation proceedings since these individuals are usually not detained during the process.
Across the country, immigrants have had their upcoming court cases cancelled with no clear path for future court dates. In some cases, people have been told to expect to wait for at least a year before stepping foot in court for their immigration hearings. The shutdown is not the only thing to blame for these long wait times, though. In 2018, backlogged immigration cases passed the one million mark, leaving literally millions of people unable to get the answers they need.
This situation is understandably extremely frustrating for immigrants who are either already in Louisiana or who are hoping to make it their future home. However, it also highlights the importance of getting paperwork and applications filled out correctly the first time around. Any mistakes in this process could lead to further delays that only drag out the process even longer, so working with an experienced immigration attorney may be a good idea for those who want to minimize their wait times.