Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

cpb-logo

Why The Immigration Court Backlog In Massachusetts Is Growing Faster Than In Almost Any Other State

John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston houses the Boston Immigration Court.  Photo by Curt Nickisch for WBUR

John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston houses the Boston Immigration Court. Photo by Curt Nickisch for WBUR

It’s 8:30 a.m. on a recent morning in Boston’s immigration court. A federal prosecutor for the Department of Homeland Security pushes a cart loaded with case files into a courtroom. She wedges the cart between a wall and a desk and heaves a pile of paperwork onto the tabletop. Another day full of master calendar hearings is about to get underway.

For an immigrant who’s fighting deportation or applying for asylum, a master calendar hearing is their initial court appearance. It kick-starts the rest of their proceedings, and they usually walk out with a date for their next court appearance.

In Boston, those dates are being set further and further out thanks to the nearly 27,000 cases already pending — an increase of 76 percent since President Trump took office. It’s the second-largest spike in the country.

Visit WBUR for the full story.