New York City’s backlog for migrant appointments at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices is the worst in the country – with new arrivals being told they won’t be seen until October 2032.
There are currently almost 40,000 people on the waitlist, The New York Post reported on Monday. Second and third to New York are two Florida cities – Jacksonville and Miramar.
Migrants arriving in Jacksonville must wait until June 2028 for their appointment, and January 2028 in Miramar.
Fourth worst is San Antonio, with the next available appointment in February 2027, and fifth is Atlanta, which has no space until January 2027. The appointments are for a ‘Notice To Report’.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officers process detained undocumented immigrants in lower Manhattan. New York City has the longest backlog for ICE appointments in the country
This is an interim step, which the Biden administration introduced in early 2021 and ended later that year. Previously migrants were simply given a ‘Notice To Appear’ at immigration court.
But immigration courts are equally overwhelmed, and the delays there stretch several years.
New York’s immigration court has roughly 194,000 pending cases, and is among the most delayed in the country. The average case is pending for 840 days as of January, nearly two and a half years, according to Syracuse University data.
It means that, for most of those hoping to be able to work and send money back to their families, the only option is to do so illegally, without work authorization.
Victor Rodriguez, 23, who arrived in the U.S. from Venezuela in late 2022, told The Post he has an appointment in 2025. He said: ‘Before coming, I knew it was going to be complicated, but not this complicated.
‘I didn’t know it would take this long.’
He is currently living at the New York Manhattan Hotel near the Empire State Building. Rodriguez said he thought about moving to another state with a shorter wait time, but then decided to ‘wait it out.’
Buses carrying migrants are seen arriving in New York City in December 2022
A man is detained by an ICE official in Manhattan
ICE agents are seen processing the paperwork of undocumented migrants in NYC
Jhony Amagua, 28, of Ecuador arrived in late January and told The Post he was issued an appointment date for 2031.
He told the paper he, his wife and two children were ‘completely lost,’ adding that he has ‘no idea what to do.’
Matt O’Brien, a former immigration judge in Virginia, who worked from 2020 to 2022 after a career spent at Citizenship and Immigration Services, said most of those using the system will ultimately be denied asylum.
‘The major problem with all of this is that 99% of these people don’t have a valid asylum claim,’ he told The Post.
‘[The asylum process] is designed to protect people from persecution, primarily at the hands of a government or in certain limited circumstances at the hands of parties that government is unable or unwilling to control.’
New York City has struggled to cope with the move by governors of Texas and Arizona to send migrants north to the Democrat-run state.
Hundreds of migrants stormed the Paso del Norte crossing in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on Sunday, with the intention of crossing into El Paso
Migrants and police stand off against each other on the bridge between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas on Sunday
Migrants, mostly from Venezuela, try to cross the barrier of the Mexican army into the United States on Sunday
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, sent 4,900 migrants to New York City between August 5 and December 29.
Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, has in turn been handing out free bus tickets to allow migrants to travel north towards the Canadian border, where they are then left to their own devices.
ICE said in a statement that it was ‘working to address current processing delays at some field offices.’
The New York City ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office ‘has capacity to see approximately 400-600 noncitizens a day on average, depending on the complexity of each case,’ the agency said.