Denver Post -- Nancy Lofholm

Thousands of immigrants attempting to seek legal status or other court actions in Colorado are having their cases delayed for nearly five years — an unprecedented backlog in this state's immigration court.

The backlog that some Denver immigration attorneys call "a standstill" is part of national immigration court jam of almost 430,000 cases. But the legal pileup is particularly bad in Colorado, where all the immigration judges have been ordered to hear only priority cases.

Since September, two of Colorado's three immigration judges have been assigned to remotely hear cases in other states. Instead of chipping away at the local backlog, Judge Donn Livingston and Judge Eileen Trujillo are handling cases by video for a new detention center in Dilley, Texas, that houses unaccompanied minors and families with minors that have been crossing the Mexican border to seek asylum. The judges were hearing cases remotely at a detention facility in Artesia, N.M., before that center was closed.

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2014 border surge

Updated: Thu, Feb 19th 2015 @ 12:55pm EST