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Fast-changing immigration rules could further clog courts

People who need to go through immigration courts in Arizona and around the country may find their cases delayed even longer. Immigrants already wait approximately two years for their case to be heard. With new regulations from the Trump administration, the system could be even more overloaded.

In 2015, there were 237 sitting immigration judges. By Feb. 3, that number should be at 302. However, this may not be enough to keep up with the number of cases. In 2014, the Washington Post found that judges only had about seven minutes to give to each case. Furthermore, many of the immigrants lacked legal representation. A 2011 study found that about 60 percent of immigrants did not have an attorney at the time of case completion. Having an attorney leads to significantly better results. The same study reported that around 75 percent of immigrants who were not detained and who had attorneys were successful while only around 10 percent without legal counsel were.

Many immigrants pay taxes and pay into Social Security. New regulations, which may require more detention centers and border agents, could cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Furthermore, with a hiring freeze in effect, it is unclear whether the additional personnel required will be hired.

Immigration law is complex, and it is changing rapidly. Individuals who are facing deportation or seeking naturalization, asylum, student visas, H-1B visas or who have other immigration issues may want to speak to an attorney. An attorney might also be able to keep an individual informed about changing immigration laws, how those laws are interpreted, and how it will affect the individual's particular case. An attorney also may be helpful for people who are already residents but would like to bring family members into the country.

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