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Prof. Bruce Einhorn Reacts to Obama's Executive Action on Immigration | 89.3 KPCC

Obama's actions could affect thousands at LA's immigration courts

Dorian Merina and A Martínez | Take Two | November 21st, 2014


President Obama's planned changes to immigration enforcement could be good news for the nation's overwhelmed immigration courts.

The courts are facing an historic backlog, with more than 400,000 pending cases as of this fall.

That's promising news for immigration judges, who have long sought more resources for their busy courtrooms, says Bruce Einhorn, a former immigration judge who served in the LA courts for more than 15 years.

"They're up against a tsunami of cases," said Einhorn who teaches law at Pepperdine University. A typical judge in Los Angeles has about 2,500 cases on their docket, which means an average case takes more than two years to reach a decision, said Einhorn.

But that could change with Obama's action.

"If the president's order is properly enforced by the Department of Homeland Security," said Einhorn, "then you're going to see a moderately significant, if not a very significant, decrease in the number of cases that are brought by the government."

That number could be in the thousands, said Einhorn, but it will take time to see the effects on the ground.

One group that will likely not find relief are the thousands of child migrant cases that are working their way through the courts. As Take Two has been covering on the program, more than 7,000 children are being heard in Los Angeles alone. Since they arrived in the country within the past five years, they probably will not qualify under the new rules from Obama.