ORLANDO, Fla. (NewsNation) — Hundreds of people including small children have been waiting in long lines outside Florida immigration offices. Many are waiting two or three days, even sleeping outside, to see an immigration official after recently arriving from countries including Haiti, Cuba and Venezuela.
The migrants from all over the world are lined up around an immigration office in Orlando. They came across the U.S. Mexico border and now are hoping to check in at the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.
Viviana Linarex is here from Venezuela. She says immigration officers placed an ankle monitor on her when she crossed the border near Arizona. She took a flight out of Phoenix to Orlando. Now, she’s stuck in line to check in and have it removed.
Several other migrants in line were also wearing ankle monitors. They waited as a loudspeaker recording on a loop announced: “Unfortunately, there is a chance that we may not be able to see everyone who reports to this location daily. We will process as many people as we can, but eventually reach our capacity for the day.”
ICE sent NewsNation the following statement: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is working to address current processing delays at the Orlando ICE office. Non-citizens that were recently apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southwest border and given a notice to report or parole, must check in with ICE after arriving at their destination.”
“They [ICE] don’t have the capability to receive all these people that has been scheduled. Of course, the immigrants they are afraid,” immigration attorney Milena Portillo said. “They don’t want to miss their appointments. So they are trying to do everything they can to make sure that they get to be seen by the immigration officer.”
The lines of migrants seem to paint a picture of an immigration system that was already stressed and is now completely overloaded.