Deportations were down in 2013, according to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security, and one reason why is a massive backlog in immigration court, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  San Antonio has the second largest immigration court immigration backup in the country, according to figures obtained by 1200 WOAI's Michael Board, with 12,400 cases pending.


  The problem, according to San Antonio immigration attorney Lance Curtright, is that the number of judges has not kept up with the press of cases.


  Curtright says that means that people who are appealing deportation or want to make arguments in support of remaining in the United States frequently have to wait more than a year to have their cases heard.


  "It's very, very emotionally trying for them," Curtright said.  "It is equivalent to living in a type of limbo."


  The Department of Justice says it understands the need to hire more immigration attorneys.


  "They wait literally years to have their final hearing," Curtright said.  "They have all the evidence they need to show that they have a right to stay in the United States."


  Immigration courts decide the fate of all applicants for permanent legal residency, as well as handle cases relating to deportation and requests for political asylum.