The Surge of Refugees from Mexico and Central America has come to Idaho.
In 2014 the U.S. saw an unprecedented number of minor children fleeing Latin American and arriving at its southern border. Local immigration lawyers are experiencing an serious influx of cases on Boise's immigration court non-detained docket. These families are fleeing uncontrolled violence and seeking to be classified as refugees according to the international definition, codified in the U.S. by the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 101(a)(42),
"any person who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."
Backlogs are straining Boise's Immigration Court.
Boise's Immigration Court is managed by the Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), Immigration Court, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our wait times mirror those of Salt Lake City; a typical case waits more than 2 years before a final adjudication of the immigrant's claims can be made. The current Boise docket has the capacity of reviewing approximately sixty (60) an initial (Master Calendar) hearings per week. Local attorneys who practice regularly at the Boise Immigration Court have noted that more than 2/3rd of these case are unrepresented Latin American individuals, usually in family units. These cases have passed a "credible fear" determination after being screened by U.S. Customs and Border Protection but have no right to court-appointed counsel. Therefore, in order to ensure Due Process, the immigration judge must work carefully with each individual, often through a court translator, to ensure that the U.S. comports with international protocol on refugee identification and placement.