Immigration Court Backlogs

The effects of illegal immigration comes at a price from all angles – including the courts and justice system. According to the Immigration Policy Center, immigration court backlogs have increased 163% from FY 2003 to April 2015. This is in contrast to the relatively modest court spending increase from 74 percent from FY 2003 to FY 2015, from $199 million to $347.2 million, although the Obama Administration has requested an additional $64 million for immigration courts in FY 2016. According to many involved with the court system, including Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks, President of the National Association of Immigration Judges, it is necessary to double or even triple the size of the immigration courts.

Such delays have a detrimental effect to not only the courts, but more importantly to the respondents, who have valid claims to relief. Due to the unreasonable delays, meritorious claimants must wait longer in order to receive status and properly assimilate into society. Not only are Respondents ineligible for work permits, but their time in court affects their families and children who may rely on them for financial or health related support. Further, the understaffed courts and judges are more likely to make hastily made decisions due to the busy court schedules. This in turn may lead to further appeals by Respondents and more cost to the overall system.

TPS Extended for Somalians

USCIS has announced that TPS for Somalians has been extended for an additional 18 months, effective Sept. 18, 2015, through March 17, 2017.

To be eligible for TPS, you must:

-Be a national of Somalia or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia;
-File during the open initial registration or re-registration period;
-Have been continuously physically present in the United States since September 18, 2012; and
-Have been continuously residing in the United States since May 1, 2012.

You may NOT be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:

-Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
-Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a)
-Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum.
-Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;
-Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements

Religion & Immigration

According to a Pew research study, there are a growing number of atheists, and/or religiously unaffiliated immigrants in the United States with one in five immigrants stating they do not belong to any religion. The research is based on survey collection of 35,000 immigrant participants between 2007 – 2014.

This study has also found that Christian immigration has decreased by 7% in the same period that non-Christian immigrants increased from 8% to 12% between 2007 – 2014. Interestingly, the study reported that the majority of Hindus and Muslims in the U.S. are immigrants – for instance, of the Muslims in the U.S. 36% were born in the country, while 61% were born outside the U.S. Similarly, of the Hindus in the U.S. 13% were born in the country, while 87% were born outside the U.S.

Regardless of the change in religious affiliations and population shifts, the fact remains that the U.S. is home to a rich demographic of varying religious and non-religious individuals.

For more information on the Pew research study, refer to the following link