Public Radio International: Los Angeles Immigration Court is a ‘Ghost Town’; Government Shutdown Causing Enormous Disruption

As the Trump Administration’s shutdown rolls past the one-month mark, more and more people are being forced to reckon with the damage. Earlier in January, we discussed the impact the federal government shutdown was having on immigration courts. Each day the shutdown goes on, additional immigration hearings are postponed to an uncertain date in the future.

According to reporting from Public Radio International (PRI), the busiest immigration court in Los Angeles has all but turned into a ghost town. The Los Angeles Immigration Court — located at 606 S. Olive Street — has been largely closed until further notice. As of January 21st, 2019, there is still no indication as to when immigration cases will resume at their normal level.

With 76,000 Immigration Cases Pending, Most Proceedings Have Ground to a Halt

The backlog in United States immigration courts has long been a source of frustration for many people. In the Los Angeles Immigration Court there are currently an astounding 76,000 immigration cases that are pending. At this time, most of the people who are working in the immigration court are not being paid. Indeed, on January 25, 2019, these workers will miss their second straight paycheck as a result of the Trump Administration’s decision to take the government into a shutdown. Undoubtedly, this reckless action by the executive branch has put a huge financial strain on many families.

Many Immigration Court Employees are Still Working Without Pay

Notably, while many immigration cases have been postponed, a significant number of employees at the immigration court are still being required to work — without pay. The reason for this is that the immigration hearings for migrants who are currently being detained — this includes many deportation proceedings — are continuing. It is the hearings for non-detained immigrants that have been cancelled.

Unfortunately, there is no telling when the Trump Administration will allow immigration court operations to return to normal. Many immigrants who have already waited many months or even multiple years for their hearing will be required to wait even longer. As an example, the PRI report included the story of a mother who fled violence in El Salvador, received asylum in Southern California, but has been waiting more than one year for her teenage daughter’s asylum hearing. Frustratingly, the Trump Administration’s shutdown resulted in that hearing being postponed.

Get Help From Our Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we are committed to providing immigrants with strong, effective legal representation. With over 15 years of experience, our California immigration lawyer has the skills and knowledge needed to handle the full range of immigration law cases.

To arrange a strictly confidential immigration consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team at (213) 262-2000. With a law office in the heart of Los Angeles, we serve communities throughout the region, including Long Beach, East Los Angeles, El Monte, and West Covina.