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This article was originally published in The Houston Chronicle on January 25, 2014. You can access the original article here:

The Houston Chronicle reported this week that the recent trend of fast-tracking unaccompanied children from Central America through United States immigration courts not only jeopardizes Central American immigrants’ right to due process, but has ramifications for other refugees whose outstanding cases are being delayed in the growing backlog.

Central American immigrants’ right to due process is being threatened as their cases are placed at the front of the docket, giving them insufficient time to secure an attorney and prepare a case. This aggressive effort to push Central American cases to the front of the docket also means that refugees from other countries are seeing their cases rescheduled and delayed.

Samantha Del Bosque, a Senior Staff Attorney at Tahirih Houston, said that the increasing backlog is affecting many of her clients. An excerpt of the article reads:

    A Mexican woman [who Del Bosque is] representing qualified for a green card because she’s a victim of domestic violence. It’s been approved, and the legal process is complete but she can’t receive it until what’s usually a 10-minute perfunctory hearing in which the judge officially agrees to adjust her status. That’s been rescheduled several times, and it’s not clear when it actually will occur.

“For people with very solid cases, it’s devastating,” Del Bosque said.

Attorneys consulted for the article said most of their cases not involving immigrants who arrived here after May are being reset without a later date.