Almost 1,200 immigration hearings in Chicago canceled because of government shutdown; backlogs expected to grow

If the shutdown were to continue into February, the number of hearings canceled in the city would grow to 2,978, and if it continues into March the number would climb to 4,975, according to the TRAC analysis.

News Story (Illinois)

Elvia Malagon
Chicago Tribune
January 16, 2019

Tags: Courts, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Immigrant Justice Center


Ashley Huebner, the associate director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, said the effects of the shutdown really started to be felt by attorneys after the new year, because the court isn’t as busy during the holidays. There has since been confusion among attorneys as they try to determine what to do about deadlines in cases that had been set before the shutdown.

It’s unclear when immigrants who had their hearings canceled because of the shutdown will get a chance to have their cases heard. Based on what happened last time there was a federal government shutdown, Huebner said her organization thinks the cases could be further delayed for years. That could mean cases could be pushed back until 2021 or 2022, which would add to the existing backlog, she said.