Computer bug bogs down immigration courts

Computer glitches are bedeviling federal immigration courts in Georgia and across the nation, a problem that could delay deportation cases, keep people locked up longer and drive up taxpayer costs for their detention, said local immigration attorneys.

At issue are problems afflicting the government’s computer case system. The bugs are preventing court clerks from accessing court records and entering new ones in the system. They are also blocking them from making audio recordings of hearings.

As results, immigration attorneys say, people are having trouble getting information about their court cases. A lot is at stake. In the fiscal year ending in September, the immigration court system had a backlog of 350,330 pending cases.

The Justice Department agency that oversees the court system — the Executive Office for Immigration Review — issued a prepared statement on Wednesday, calling the problem a “hardware failure.”

“Immigration courts are still operating on their normal schedule, but some cases may be continued while we continue to work through this issue,” said Kathryn Mattingly, a spokeswoman for the office. “We are continuing to evaluate the problem and are hard at work to find a solution.”

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