Those awaiting hearings at a Houston immigration court should be prepared to wait for much more than a year due to thousands of pending cases, a shortage of judges and the more than two-week federal shutdown in October, a report has found.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data gathering and research organization at Syracuse University, reported that the four judges assigned to Houston's downtown immigration court had 16,647 pending cases in November, up more than 250 percent since 2009. TRAC found that the wait for hearings reached an average of 555 days, up from 298 days four years ago, according to a report in The Houston Chronicle Monday.
TRAC data shows there were more than 50,000 cases pending statewide last month. Houston's downtown court led the state with backlogged cases, followed by San Antonio with 12,400 cases and El Paso with 7,792.
Gordon Quan, an immigration attorney, said clients are growing frustrated with the repeated delays, which often force them to reapply for work authorization and renew their fingerprint checks.