Immigration courts in Houston have begun hearing cases from non-detained immigrants again. The national backlog of immigration cases now numbers more than 1.3 million and immigrants have to wait an average of two and a half years to have their day in court.
As the number of people in immigration detention has increased, so has the number of coronavirus infections. A recent analysis by the New York Times showed that more than 7,500 cases have occurred in detention centers since April 2021, accounting for 40% of the total number of coronavirus cases in detention centers since the pandemic began last year.
The Biden administration is making an effort to reach out to veterans who were deported and provide a pathway to citizenship. More than 44,000 noncitizens served in the military between 2013 and 2018. And although ICE is able to deport noncitizen veterans who were convicted of a crime, a 2019 Government Accountability Office report found that ICE did not consistently apply that standard.