Chicago Immigration Court Slows down as Cases Increase

The immigration court in Chicago is now the second average slowest at disposing of cases in the US, because of an increase in the number of pending cases, as well as the complex nature of many of them, according to statistics.

Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse has collected national data, showing that the average waiting time for case processing at the immigration court in Chicago has increased from below 750 days in 2014, to more than 1000 days by the end of the 2017 fiscal year. The most recent figure has also seen Illinois become second in lag times among all the states in the country, behind only Colorado, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

The slow process can be explained, in part, by the sheer complexity of many of the cases, says Chicago court spokeswoman, Gail Montenegro. She points out that the average processing times fail to take into account the different factors that may be unique to individual immigrant’s  cases, nor do they reveal details about those cases that completed in a relatively short time.

There were more than 25,000 cases pending in the Chicago court system at the close of 2017, court officials say. The number of such pending cases in the US has also tripled over the last few years, according to the leaders of the Department of Justice’s federal Executive Office for Immigration Review.