Reps. Zeldin, King Request Immigration Court on Long Island to Reduce Case Backlog, Address Gang Violence

Both Suffolk and Nassau Counties rank in the top ten counties for the greatest number of pending cases before the Immigration Court.

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NY Congressman Lee Zeldin.

Photo by: Office of Congressman Lee Zeldin

Long Island, NY - May 8, 2018 - Representatives Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) and Peter King (R, NY-2) sent a letter to the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review James McHenry, requesting he open on Long Island one of the 75 new immigration courts to reduce case backlog and address gang violence.
Both Suffolk and Nassau Counties rank in the top ten counties for the greatest number of pending cases before the Immigration Court.
Full text of the letter is as follows:
Director James McHenry
Executive Office for Immigration Review
U.S. Department of Justice
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2600
Falls Church, Virginia 22041
Dear Director McHenry,
On April 12, 2018, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) presented the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 President’s budget request. The testimony included a commitment to open 75 new immigration courtrooms in FY 2018 to reduce the backlog of pending immigration cases.  
As the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) identifies locations for new immigration courts, I respectfully request you place at least one of these new locations on Long Island. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), Suffolk and Nassau County rank in the top 10 among all counties in the nation for pending cases before the Immigration Court, with 23,178 cases as of December 31, 2017. Furthermore, Suffolk and Nassau County have absorbed a significant number of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) with 1,219 being relocated in Nassau County and 1,472 going to sponsors in Suffolk County in 2017.
Pending cases contribute to associated gang violence on Long Island as gang members target youth like UAC’s. While Serving as Suffolk County’s Police Commissioner, now Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini stated in his testimony to the Committee on Homeland Security, “of a sampling of 143 active gang members, 89 entered the United States illegally and currently do not have legal status (39 of whom are ‘UACs’), 48 are of unknown immigration status, and 17 have legal status (temporary or otherwise).” An adequate expansion of EOIR resources to Long Island would assist local law enforcement’s relationship with ICE to implement enacted immigration laws.
The backlog in immigration courts is a result of years of policy failures under prior administrations. Effective immigration judge teams are necessary to carry out the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) statutory responsibility to prosecute administrative immigration cases. Suffolk and Nassau County could efficiently use these resources to address the backlog as well as prioritize incoming cases related to gang violence.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.