"We are reaching a point of implosion, if we have not already reached it," said Judge Dana Leigh Marks of San Francisco, who has been deciding immigration cases since 1987 and is president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.
U.S. immigration courts have a backlog
of 375,373 cases, almost 50,000 more than they faced two years ago, according to Justice Department figures.
United States border patrol agents can no longer give an accurate appraisal of who those pouring over the border are, since agents are largely focused on caring for unaccompanied, undocumented children
While many retail news outlets express concerns for tens of thousands of children entering the US illegally without chaperones, tens of thousands of adults from various South American countries and perhaps elsewhere are also crossing over.
Recently, U.S. border patrol agents came under fire
from a 50-caliber machine gun, which pinned down lightly-armed agents while illegals crossed over the Rio Grande.
Marks is one of the 243 judges presiding over 59 immigration courts in the United States. Immigration courts are currently setting hearing dates as far off as 2018 as it typically takes three to five years for cases to clear the system, according to immigration judges and lawyers.
The Obama administration has come under fire for policy changes that some say created the border crisis and for the presidentâ€™s failure to visit the border
in spite of daily headline news accounts of it.
In 2001, terrorists were able to live in the United States undetected and train in flight schools
before hijacking airliners and flying them into the Twin Trade Towers and Pentagon, killing thousands of New Yorkers, Americans and other nationalities working in New York City and the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama who has pledged to run the country by executive order
, has done little to reinforce the borders and is yet to personally visit the border and discourage illegal immigration.
At the same time, Mr. Obama has requested billions of dollars to be approved by a Congress he has essentially refused to work with.
For their part, Republicans and some Democrats say there is much the president can do if he were inclined to, both in terms of securing the borders and reinforcing immigration services.
"As the stress gets worse, it becomes a far more difficult job and people are increasingly likely to retire at their earliest opportunity rather than well into retirement (age)," Marks said.
Immigration judges have been instructed to focus on undocumented children and women who have crossed the border, backing up legal immigration and further degrading the ability of immigration officials to determine exactly who is entering the country.
Republicans have long insisted that the Obama administration seal the border before they will consider comprehensive immigration reform. They say immigration reform will not occur under the present chaotic conditions.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is sending 1000 national guardsmen
to the border in an effort to aid border patrol, however Mr. Obama has largely ignored the problem in the view of many, which has allowed it to compound
over a period of years.