Boston Globe -- Seth Robbins

Thousands of immigrants seeking legalization through the US court system have had their hearings canceled and are being told by the government that it may be 2019 or later before their futures are resolved.

Some immigration lawyers fear the delay will leave their clients at risk of deportation as evidence becomes dated, witnesses disappear, sponsoring relatives die, and dependent children become adults.

The increase in cancellations began last summer after the Justice Department prioritized the tens of thousands of Central American migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, most of them mothers with children and unaccompanied minors.

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Updated: Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 8:50am EST