Immigrants receive court dates up to 10 years after crossing border illegally

Immigrants receive court dates up to 10 years after crossing border illegally

Posted For: Layla Godey

by Kaelan Deese, Supreme Court Reporter

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Illegal immigrants released into the United States from the southern border post-Title 42 may not have to appear in federal court for at least another decade.

The Washington Examiner interviewed dozens of immigrants who freshly crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to get a sense of just how long they will stay in the U.S. before an immigration court determines whether they should be removed or will be eligible to remain in the country. Several immigrants were willing to show their Department of Homeland Security I-862 forms, revealing notices to appear in court reaching as far into the future as 2033.

My court date is set for a year away in Oregon, but my mother was told to wait 10 years before she can see a judge,” one 23-year-old immigrant from Venezuela said, noting that despite his notice to appear before a judge on the coastal northwest, he and his mother were seeking to reside in New York City for the time being.

Two immigrants in Brownsville gave permission to use their photos with their Form I-862 to show just how far into the future their court appearances have been scheduled. For Denny Jose, a 39-year-old man from Venezuela, his notice was to appear before a Dallas judge on March 11, 2027.

Venezuelan immigrant Denny Jose, 39, was given notice to make his first court appearance on March 11, 2027, according to his Form I-862.
Kaelan Deese
Denny Jose’s court date.
Kaelan Deese

Another immigrant from Colombia, 46-year-old Hernan, was told to appear before a Utah judge on Feb. 10, 2026.

Colombian immigrant Hernan, 46, was given notice to make his first appearance on Feb. 10, 2026.
Kaelan Deese
Hernan’s February 2026 notice to appear in court, according to his Form I-862.
Kaelan Deese

Notably, of the seven Form I-862s viewed by the Washington Examiner, not one of the immigrants checked a box on the form meant to designate whether the respondent “has demonstrated a credible fear of persecution or torture.”

Several other immigrants who wished to remain anonymous complained about the discrepancies in court appearance dates among people with whom they traveled, such as family members or spouses.

“When you don’t have that legal documentation to say, ‘That’s my wife,’ then [border officials] go, ‘Oh, OK, she goes this way. You go that way.’ So that’s why they don’t get the same court dates,” a volunteer who would not share his name but said he worked with Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief told the Washington Examiner on Saturday.

South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman told the Washington Examiner on Friday that giving court dates so far into the future is “almost meaningless.” He said that if someone is told to appear in court in 10 years, “it’s very unlikely this person ever actually faces an immigration judge.”

Immigration courts have more than 2 million cases waiting to be heard nationwide by fewer than 700 judges, and the pivot to pre-Title 42 border protocols is only expected to add to that backlog because immigrants will no longer be eligible for immediate expulsion, resulting in more people in custody and released into the country.

Border Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) said last week that he was frustrated with how backed up the legal system has become as it drowns in immigration cases that pour in amid the border crisis. Under President Joe Biden, more than 2 million illegal immigrants have been released into the country.

“There’s about 10 cities [where] most of those migrants are going,” Cuellar said on Fox News Sunday. “New York is No. 1, and when they give those notices to report, that is to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], not before an immigration court. In New York City, it’s going to be until 2033. … That’s 10 years before they even go to a judge.”

Joe Biden,Henry Cuellar
President Joe Biden talks with Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, second from left, as they walk along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso Texas, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Oscar Leeser, Mayor of the City of El Paso is at right. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The Biden administration has spoken at length about its intention to see each person go through removal proceedings in court and has vowed to deport every person who a judge finds has no viable claim to be in the country.

“We often, as has every administration, release individuals into immigration enforcement proceedings, and those individuals, if they do not qualify for relief, will be removed,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a press briefing in Washington on Wednesday.

Despite his vow, Mayorkas has pushed back against targeting for removal any person who is not an aggravated convicted felon or national security threat. That means illegal immigrants without any criminal police records prior to their immigration court dates will not be an ICE priority for removal, even if ordered for removal by a judge.

Speaking to members of the press on Sunday, Biden himself gloated that the border looks “much better than you all expected” after the number of migrants crossing the southern border dropped from averages of nearly 11,000 each day last week to around 9,000 on Friday.

However, thousands of immigrants who crossed the southern border remain in the country without any work authorization permits to even begin legally working in the country. That prompted progressive lawmakers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to call on the administration to remove a 150-day waiting period forimmigrants who say they have an asylum claim to obtain one as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, conservative legal efforts are mounting against the Biden administration’s allowance of immigrants who are awaiting removal proceedings to remain in the country.


America First Legal and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, are “urgently suing Biden to stop his lawless and covert mass parole scheme,” Stephen Miller, AFL founder and former senior adviser to former President Donald Trump, tweeted in response to a Washington Examiner reporter.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants were released into the U.S. with court dates during the Trump administration, but Miller is taking issue with the Biden administration paroling immigrants without court dates due to overcrowding in border facilities.

“Parole is Admin’s end game: it immunizes illegals from deportation, gives them access to work permits & green cards,” Miller added.

The Biden administration has increasingly waived immigrants into the U.S. on a parole basis through screening immigrants in a government app or when in custody after illegally crossing the border. Parole is used to release immigrants even when they have not made an asylum claim.

On May 12, Paxton filed for a temporary restraining order to block a federal border policy allowing the release of immigrants on parole to address cases of overcrowding at the southern border after the end of Title 42. Paxton’s request came just hours after a district court judge ruled in favor of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s lawsuit late Thursday evening, which placed a two-week pause on paroling people without giving them court dates. For the time being, any immigrant released into the interior must be given a court date or notice to appear.

Former federal immigration judge Mark Metcalf, who has practiced law for 37 years, told the Washington Examiner that Biden’s plans to release immigrants into the U.S. on parole “creates no positive controls on aliens released” into the country.

Two immigrants from Venezuela, one of whom said he was formerly a police officer for 20 years, told the Washington Examiner they were paroled and told to contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within 60 days to establish a future court date.

Screenshot 2023-05-14 at 10.22.27 PM.png
A young Venezuelan woman was paroled just before a judge in Florida put a two-week hold on immigrants receiving parole without a notice for a court appearance.
Kaelan Deese

The second immigrant revealed that her parole date was on May 11, indicating she came into the U.S. before the Florida judge’s decision late Thursday evening.

Since Title 42 has ended and border enforcement is now governed under Title 8, Border Patrol officials as far as the eastern Texas port of entry in Brownsville are trying to show the public they are enforcing the policy by removing immigrants who entered the country without prior authorization.

Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez for the Rio Grande Valley Sector tweeted Saturday that one day after Title 42 lifted, agents “apprehended 1,133 migrants, representing a 66% decrease as compared to this fiscal year’s high water mark of 3,300 apprehensions on 5/8/23.”


In the meantime, immigrants told the Washington Examiner they are happy to have made it across the border and are actively looking for any job they can find because they must wait a long time before they will be expected in court.

“How do I support myself here in the United States for four years without working?” a Venezuelan named Joseph asked, saying his notice for appearance in court was slated for October 2027.

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