Immigration Backlog Creating Chaos, Long Lines at Orlando Office

The crowds outside the Orlando immigration office appear to be growing, and so is the frustration for people who are trying to meet legal obligations and avoid detention and deportation.

Something new since WESH 2 first brought you this story last week: Volunteers from Orlando’s New Vision Worship Center setting up a table for free food and drinks.

“It’s a tough situation, but that’s why we’re here. Just trying to help in any way we can. We try to help,” Angel Gabriel said.

Orlando and other Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices that handle Enforcement and Removal have been struggling in recent weeks. The COVID-19 safety protocols that permitted virtual check-ins the past two years have been lifted and in-person appointments for those seeking asylum, work visas and citizenship have resumed. The small staff is overrun.

Bibiana Linares fled Venezuela and crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. where she was fitted with a GPS ankle monitor. She had an appointment two weeks ago but was turned away.

“And then I came back again, and came back again and now I’m here trying to do it again and I might just stay the night here to see if I can do it in the morning,” she said.

Seeing news reports with so many people waiting to get into Orlando’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Enforcement and Removal Operations office, local members of Congress, Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy, have written a letter to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to request more resources here to cut the backlog.

“At the very least we have to reign in this chaos that’s inconveniencing so many central Floridians,” Soto said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a new statement on the immigration backlog to WESH 2 News, reading U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is working to address current processing delays at the Orlando Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.

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