"This isn't your usual bureaucratic backlog," says Sofia Casini, an immigration coordinator with Grassroots Leadership. "There aren't too many cases on the docket; there's hundreds of cases not on the docket. That's not normal in any legal context."
Without a court date, women can't know when to hire an attorney; when to collect evidence, like police records from their home country (an often dangerous task); and other time-consuming and costly preparations. And as weeks turn into months, evidence can grow stale and witnesses can back out. "They are getting no information at all about essentially their life sentence," said Casini. "It's hard to explain just how completely unjust and abnormal that is." Read more about Immigrant Women Stuck in Detention