Measles Outbreak Causing Backlog Of Cases In Eloy Immigration Court

July 08, 2016
Jude Joffe-Block/KJZZ
Eloy Detention Center.

The shuttering of the immigration court in Eloy and the restrictions at the neighboring detention center after an ongoing measles outbreak, is creating a backlog of cases. That's impacting the more than 1,200 immigrant detainees inside.

Immigration officials made the decision to close the immigration court after the detention center was quarantined to staunch the measles outbreak. The court was supposed to re-open June 30, and that was postponed twice. Now it’s slated to re-open July 18, creating a backlog of 790 immigration cases waiting to be heard. 

Tucson immigration attorney Patricia Mejia represents five clients whose cases have been put on hold. 

"The biggest concern is that people’s cases are being held indefinitely so we don’t know when they will see a judge," she said. "I have several bond requests pending before the court for a judge to issue a bond."

The Executive Office for Immigration Review sent immigration attorneys an update that read in part: "Should the July 18, 2016, date shift again, the immigration court will review any motions to continue consistent with applicable law. Eloy immigration judges are cognizant of the challenges attorneys face in preparing their cases and complying with court deadlines and will take the current situation into account when ruling on motions for continuances."

Mejia said she doesn’t know how long after the court re-opens those clients will be able to pay the bonds they’ve already been issued.