After seven months of an ambitious Obama administration review of deportations before federal immigration courts, very few of them have been halted, disappointing immigrants the President hopes to court for his re-election bid, reports the New York Times. Only two percent of more than 411,000 deportation cases have been closed so far.
The numbers fall far short of expectations raised among immigrants when officials said they would comb through backlogged court dockets to close cases where the immigrants had strong family ties to this country and no criminal records. Department of Homeland Security officials say the review has been slowed by bureaucratic delays with criminal background checks of the immigrants. They said many thousands more deportations could be suspended in coming months. Immigrant leaders and Democratic lawmakers said the administration was offering too little help to too few immigrants who would qualify. Even when prosecutors close cases, immigrants are left in limbo, without immigration status or authorization to work.