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Rep. Joaquin Castro Calls for Federal Investigation of Immigration Backlog Under Trump Administration

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Joaquin Castro speaks at a recent immigration-reform rally, surrounded by his family and local faith leaders. - SANFORD NOWLIN
  • Sanford Nowlin
  • Joaquin Castro speaks at a recent immigration-reform rally, surrounded by his family and local faith leaders.
More than 80 members of Congress signed onto a letter by San Antonio U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro asking for a Government Accountability Office probe into the Trump administration's record backlog of immigration cases.

“Processing delays for applications and immigration benefits have reached crisis levels and these delays are hurting families and businesses that depend on timely adjudications,” wrote Castro, chairman of the Hispanic Caucus, and the other lawmakers.

Calling the United States' 2.3 million-case backlog for the 2017 fiscal year “unprecedented,” the letter points out that the only recent time with a similar waiting list was directly after the September 11, 2011 terror attacks.

The letter takes aim at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which the signers accused of moving on cases at a slower pace than in years past.

President Trump has made a hardline immigration policy central to his administration, pledging to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and trying to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases play out in U.S. court.

Immigration advocates accuse the administration of intentionally slowing the process for asylum seekers and those working toward citizenship, piling up a massive backlog for immigration courts.

So far for the 2019 fiscal year, the total backlog for immigration cases stands at 869,000, according to the Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which monitors the data. The backlog in San Antonio's immigration court accounts for roughly 27,000 of the total.

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