A Window Into Immigration Courts

The Associated Press has a series out this week on the nation's immigration courts, filled with lots of color and lots of descriptions of the red tape and bureaucracy that goes along with being an immigrant fighting for residency. It's worth a read for the sheer absurdity that goes along with administering immigration law in the United States -- a system that seems to depend as much on individual jurisprudence handed out by judges as it does on systematic rules and regulations that can decide if an individual is allowed to stay in the United States.

According to the AP, there's a backlog of almost 300,000 cases currently in the system, and while the federal government has tried to hire more lawyers, the sheer number of people attempting to stay have overwhelmed the system. Notable stories include a Latino man who's fighting deportation after being in the United States since he was 2, a Cameroonian woman who was raped and beaten in her home country and took years to win asylum, and all the stories of those in limbo -- a Polish couple, a Palestinian immigrant, etc.

In the middle of our budget woes and partisan fighting, that America remains a dream for so many worldwide. And we have a system overburdened and without strong federal guidance or willpower to change it.