By Sheryl Estrada
A federal office that schedules immigration-court dates issued the same hearing date for thousands of immigrants: Nov. 29, 2019. However, according to the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, the 2019 date is only a default temporarily used for thousands of non-priority cases. The date was created last year following the great increase of adults with children and unaccompanied minors who crossed the border.
“The majority of the cases will be rescheduled [from 2019],” said Lauren Alder Reid, Counsel for Legislative and Public Affairs, Executive Office for Immigration Review.
She said the 2019 hearing date is projected to change for almost everyone scheduled for that day. Priority will be given to detention cases.
When the projected delay of four years or more was initially reported, immigration advocates and immigration attorneys were frustrated. This followed an increase in cancellations for non-priority cases.
The cancellations began in the summer of 2014 after the Justice Department prioritized the tens of thousands of Central American migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The majority were mothers with children and unaccompanied minors.
Immigration lawyers in cities including Denver, Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio, whoabsorbed a large share of those cases, said they’ve had hearings canceled with little notice and were not given new court dates. Green cards, work permits, asylum claims and family reunifications still pending.
In November, President Obama announced an executive action to fix the immigration system. The plan will allow undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to legally live and work in the U.S. for a period of three years. This includes green-card holders and undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as a child and are eligible for protected status.
Though the GOP has pushed back against the executive action, Senate Republicans have fallen short of unraveling the President’s executive order three times.