HOUSTON (AP) — People scheduled for hearings at an immigration court in Houston should be prepared to wait more than a year due to nearly 17,000 pending cases and a shortage of judges.

The Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1e5sihX ) reported Monday that the October government shutdown also delayed hearings in the court that's under the Department of Justice.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University reports the four judges assigned to Houston's downtown immigration court had 16,647 pending cases in November.
That's the most statewide and up more than 250 percent since 2009. Court times for hearings in Houston reached an average 555 days, up from 298 four years ago.

TRAC data shows more than 50,000 cases pending statewide last month.

Administrators with the court system have acknowledged the need to hire more judges.



Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com