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Congress Considers Independent Immigration Courts as Case Backlog Soars

Plus: Black immigrant population growing in the U.S., and Latinos say U.S. offers better opportunities than their home countries

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

House Democrats held a hearing Thursday to consider creating an independent immigration court system. The Justice Department, which is primarily a law enforcement agency, currently oversees the network of immigration judges and courts across the nation through its Executive Office for Immigration Review. As the number of pending court cases grows bigger than ever before, critics say the courts have been mismanaged and sometimes politicized. The immigration court’s lack of independence goes as far back as the 1940s, and this is not the first time immigration and legal experts will be calling for an independent court. Bloomberg Law

In other federal immigration news…

Black Immigrant Population Growing in the U.S.

An estimated 4.6 million Black people in the U.S. are foreign-born, meaning immigrants make up a tenth of the Black population, according to a new Pew Research Center report. Pew estimates that number will more than double by 2060, reaching 9.5 million. Black immigrants have made up a growing portion of the U.S.’s Black population over the past 40 years, and their growth is projected to outpace the U.S.-born Black population in the next 40. Black immigrants have so far come primarily from the Caribbean, but those from Africa account for the fastest growth. The analysis also found Black immigrants are more likely than immigrants overall to be naturalized U.S. citizens. Pew Research Center 

Latinos Say U.S. Offers Better Opportunities Than Their Native Countries

A Pew Research Center survey of 3,375 U.S. Latino adults — both foreign- and U.S.-born — shows that the majority say the U.S. provides better opportunities to get ahead than their native countries. Among Latinos born in the U.S., 79% say the U.S. offers more opportunities than the countries from which they are descended. The figure rises to 87% among those born in Puerto Rico or another country. Still, 48% of Latino adults see family ties as better in their native countries than in the U.S. Despite mixed views about life in the U.S., most foreign-born Latinos — 84% — say if they had to choose again, they would migrate to the U.S. Pew Research Center

Emails Show Immigration Court Officials Celebrated Fast-Tracked Deportation Orders

Newly disclosed emails reveal top officials at San Francisco’s federal immigration court were pleased about the results of a trial run to fast-track the cases of immigrants whose mail from the court was returned. In the pilot phase, 8 in 10 immigrants whose cases were docketed did not show up and were ordered for deportation. Several judges and court workers indicated their support for how the pilot turned out in emails, and a supervising judge greenlit the program to continue further. Attorneys and advocates for immigrants said many immigrants without lawyers may not be aware they had a court hearing, or even that they had been ordered deported. San Francisco Chronicle

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