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Immigration cases strain courts

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Immigrants seeking asylum in the United States must go through a long process involving interviews and background checks. And sometimes it ends in immigration court. 

Hundreds of thousands of immigration-related cases are in the courts now, meaning it can take years to be granted asylum, or get deported. Currently, there are nearly 500,000 cases pending in court. And on average, according to research done at Syracuse University, those pending cases have been open for more than 600 days. 

The waiting period can be tough, placing recent immigrants in legal and financial limbo.

For some judges, the backlog has more than doubled their yearly caseload. We spoke to one former judge, Eliza Klein, who has decided cases in Miami, Boston and Chicago. She retired recently and now works on immigration cases at a law firm outside Chicago.

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