New York City’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office is “fully booked through October 2032,” potentially forcing migrants seeking asylum in the city to wait nearly a decade to enter the immigration court process, according to documents obtained by the New York Post.
Illegal immigrants seeking asylum were historically issued a Notice to Appear in court; however, in 2021, the Biden administration instead started issuing migrants a Notice to Report to the ICE office closest to their final destination, where they would then be scheduled for court proceedings.
In late 2021, that practice ended and was replaced by the Alternatives to Detention “parole” program, which is supposed to track illegal migrants released from the country with GPS monitoring.
The document obtained by the Post details the “Top 10 Parole/NTR Appointment Backlog Locations,” which lists the New York City ICE office as the most clogged. As of February 13, more than 39,200 migrants had appointments booked.
Other jurisdictions with long waiting times include Jacksonville, Florida, the second-most backlogged. The location was considered “mostly booked” through June 2028, with 2,686 migrants awaiting their appointments.
Miramar, Florida, is “fully booked” through January 2028, with 24,747 migrants in line for appointments. Other offices with either “mostly booked” or “fully booked” backlogs include Atlanta, Georgia; San Antonio, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Baltimore, Maryland; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
ICE neither confirmed nor disputed the accuracy of the report obtained by the Post but noted that it is “working to address current processing delays at some field offices.”
The New York City ICE office “has capacity to see approximately 400-600 noncitizens a day on average, depending on the complexity of each case,” ICE stated.
Matt O’Brien, a former immigration judge, told the outlet that he believes the backlogs are by design.
“I think what [the Biden administration is] doing is they’re trying to flood the country with people who are not going to be able to get in front of a court,” O’Brien told the Post. “I think they’re going to try and force legislative amnesty, making the same claim that they always do, which is, ‘We don’t have the resources or the political will to deport this many people.”
He stated that most migrants “don’t have a valid asylum claim.”
O’Brien explained that the asylum process “is designed to protect people from persecution, primarily at the hands of a government or in certain limited circumstances at the hands of parties that government is unable or unwilling to control.”
According to Syracuse University data, in the fiscal year 2021, 63% of asylum claims were denied once migrants appeared before a judge. In the previous fiscal year, 71% were turned down. Currently, there are more than 2 million pending asylum cases across the nation.
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