Immigration court cases started this week

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Court cases for illegal immigrant children trying to become U.S. citizens started this week.

WREG spoke with a man who’s doing everything he can to protect his family’s children and keep them in the United States.

Pedro Diaz wants a better life for his niece and her two children. His biggest fear: they may not have much to look forward to if they go back to Mexico.

“They can get killed,” he said.

Diaz lives in the United States, but his niece and her 1- and 2-year-old sons are here illegally. They moved from  Mexico this year.

“I think it's because it's no jobs, nothing to support the kids,” he said.

His niece’s two children are two of 105 underage Mid-South immigrants facing deportation hearings in a Memphis immigration court.

An immigration lawyer told WREG Wednesday was a preliminary hearing, where families are learning how the process works and what to expect in the future. The attorney says it's too early to know who may be deported or allowed to stay.

“If they can let us stay here, it will be a lot better cause I got four kids and they been in the United States,” Diaz said.

Immigration lawyers say Memphis court has 7,000 active cases on their docket. Some attorneys say that's overwhelming because there are only two judges.

Many parents say the violence and drug problems in their countries are two of their biggest fears.

Immigration attorney Barry Frager says some of the originally scheduled court dates are likely to be delayed. That’s so the border children cases sent to Memphis can be heard.

He also expects two more judges to come on board by the end of the year.