Deportations Not Slowing, Despite U.S. Backlog

Deportations have not slowed down in the U.S., despite seven months of reviews by the Obama administration, reports The New York Times. This continuance has obviously disappointed many immigrants, many of whom President Obama hopes to court for his re-election.

Top administration officials announced months ago that they would comb through backlogged court dockets to close cases, especially the cases where immigrants had strong ties to the country and no criminal records.

But after seven months of reviews, more than 411,000 deportation cases, fewer than 2 percent have been closed. Department of Homeland Security stated that many of these have been held up because of background checks, but that many deportations could be suspended in the coming months.

Immigrant leaders and Democratic lawmakers say the review is failing because the administration isn’t offering adequate help to immigrants who could qualify. Even when their cases are closed, immigrants are left with nowhere to turn: no immigration status or authorization to work.

According to the figures, 3,998 immigrants to date have declined prosecutors’ offers, nearly half of those who received one. According to their lawyers, many believed they had strong arguments to present to judges and were discouraged by the prospect of staying in the country without being able to work legally or obtain a driver’s license and other documents.

This news comes at an interesting time, when Obama has made no headway in Congress toward an overhaul he favors to give legal status to illegal immigrants. Latino voters could be crucial for Mr. Obama in several contested states.

Tell us: Are you surprised by this news? Is the system working?