Weather, Shutdown Blamed for Immigration Courts Backlog
U.S. immigration officials blame the government shutdown and the extreme winter weather for confusion about immigration court hearings.
In an emailed statement, the part of the Justice Department overseeing immigration courts said some immigrants with notices to appear Thursday wouldn't be able to proceed with those hearings.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review said the shutdown prevented immigration courts from issuing new hearing notices. Weather-related closures this week also slowed the agency's processing of cases.
The agency also said in some cases, courts didn't receive the required paperwork.
Separately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the overflow of hearings scheduled Thursday had been expected because of the shutdown.
Similar backlogs have occurred nationwide since a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling addressed how to provide notices to immigrants to appear in court.