NYC based asylum seekers could wait up to a decade as court backlog grows
The long wait times and delays could also jeopardize the immigrant's legal status, who have a one-year deadline to file for asylum after arriving in the U.S.
May 29, 2023 11:20am
Updated: May 29, 2023 11:20am
Migrants arriving in New York City could wait up to a decade to receive asylum in the country as the backlog in the city’s immigration courts continues to grow.
At the start of May, there were at least 127,000 pending cases in the city’s immigration courts, however, that number is expected to grow as undocumented migrants continue to pour into the city.
“Because there’s such high approval rates in New York, people are coming here just to get their cases here,” immigration lawyer Gadi Zohar told The New York Post. “You really need an address here and a little bit of proof that you live here.”
New York judges have had an approval rate of 69% for all asylum cases over the past two decades. In the last five years alone, the approval rate has increased to 80%, according to data from Syracuse University.
In other cities, the approval rate is much lower. Just next door in Newark, New Jersey, the approval rate of immigration cases is 43%. Similarly, Orlando has an approval rate of 36% and Miami one of 22%. Places like Houston have an even lower approval rate, closer to 13%.
The long wait times and delays could also jeopardize the immigrant's legal status, who have a one-year deadline to file for asylum after arriving in the U.S., reported The Gothamist. Many migrants have been deported for missing the deadline, according to attorneys for nonprofit charities that have been assisting migrants.
The lines at the city’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Offices snake around several city blocks as people wait for hours to try to get an appointment to begin the asylum-claim process.
The unprecedented number of migrants arriving at the city has also caused a myriad of problems for city officials, who are scrambling to accommodate the more than 70,000 newcomers.
Last week, Mayor Eric Adams requested to suspend the city’s “right to shelter” regulation because the city does not have enough “resources and capacity to establish and maintain shelter sites, staffing, and security to provide safe and appropriate shelter.”