Nearly half immigration judges eligible to retire

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MIAMI (AP) — The nation's already backlogged immigration courts might soon be thrown into more havoc as roughly half of their 220 judges will be eligible for retirement next year.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review oversees the nation's 59 immigration courts. The office says the court already has 32 vacancies, contributing to the current backlog of nearly 350,000 cases. Judges are overwhelmed, and immigrants with legitimate asylum claims can spend years in legal limbo.

Meanwhile, immigrants without legitimate legal claims remain in the country, and Americans foot the bill for extended detention stays.

The Executive Office says its average retirement rate is only 5 percent per year — which would mean 11 judges retiring in 2014.

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