Immigration court backlog exceeds 1 million cases, data group says

Article Image

The immigration court backlog now exceeds...

Posted: Sep 19, 2019 3:42 AM
Updated: Sep 19, 2019 3:43 AM

The immigration court backlog now exceeds 1 million cases, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which tracks immigration court data.

Immigration courts, which fall under the Justice Department and decide whether to deport immigrants, have been bogged down over the years as more cases are added to the docket that can be addressed at any given time.

"If nothing else, the continuing rise of the backlog shows that the immigration court is broken," said Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. "Until we fix the design defect of having a court in a law enforcement agency, we will not be able to address the backlog in a fair and effective manner."

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the nation's immigration system, specifically taking issue with the practice of releasing immigrants while they await their court dates. To remedy that, his administration has sought to hire more immigration judges in the hopes of unclogging the court. Even so, the number of cases has continued to tick upward.

During the last partial government shutdown, for example, the only cases that moved forward were those of immigrants in detention. All others were postponed.

In January, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse estimated that more than 42,000 immigration court hearings had been canceled as a result of the shutdown -- exacerbating an issue Trump had pledged to resolve.

"The latest case-by-case court records through the end of August 2019 show the court's active case backlog was 1,007,155," according to the clearinghouse's report released Wednesday. "If the additional 322,535 cases which the court says are pending but have not been placed on the active caseload rolls are added, then the backlog now tops 1.3 million."

While a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement to CNN that the department "does not certify data from third parties," the spokesman added: "This report and DOJ's own data further confirms there is a crisis at the border. This Administration is taking aggressive steps to increase productivity, close loopholes, and hire a record number of judges to address the backlog with our existing authorities."

While the clearinghouse doesn't attribute the backlog to any one factor, the American Bar Association has previously proposed a major overhaul of the US immigration system, calling the courts "irredeemably dysfunctional."

"The state of the U.S. immigration court system has worsened considerably since our 2010 Report," that March report noted, mentioning an unprecedented backlog of cases, increased wait times, policy changes that aim to accelerate cases without allocating enough funding, overreliance on video teleconferencing during court proceedings and possible bias in the hiring of judges.

The Justice Department had previously addressed some of the issues the bar association report raised.

The administration has acknowledged the massive immigration court backlog and has, at times, placed blame on unfounded asylum claims, which have to work their way through their court system.

This month, the administration opened tent courts along the Texas border to hear the cases of migrants who have been returned to Mexico to await their immigration proceedings as part of the Migrant Protection Protocols program. Around 42,000 migrants have been sent back under the program.

In Wednesday's report, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse notes that the Migrant Protection Protocols cases still make up a small share of the court's active backlog.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4474

Reported Deaths: 159
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah122462
Marion101126
Washington75518
Clackamas33312
Deschutes1330
Umatilla1243
Linn1219
Polk10012
Lane803
Yamhill757
Jackson690
Benton575
Jefferson460
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Malheur320
Coos320
Wasco291
Douglas280
Hood River280
Lincoln230
Josephine231
Columbia160
Morrow120
Curry70
Crook70
Union60
Tillamook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122168

Reported Deaths: 4444
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles596922532
Riverside8303345
San Diego7798283
Orange6783165
San Bernardino5650209
Alameda364197
Santa Clara2850144
San Francisco264443
Imperial249330
Kern246245
San Mateo224484
Tulare208392
Fresno194437
Santa Barbara171414
Contra Costa154738
Sacramento149058
Ventura119035
Kings11876
San Joaquin102436
Stanislaus79230
Monterey62110
Sonoma5934
Solano55922
Marin52517
Merced3107
San Luis Obispo2881
Placer2599
Santa Cruz2192
Yolo21624
Madera1293
Napa1263
Humboldt1044
El Dorado980
San Benito962
Butte601
Nevada491
Sutter482
Del Norte470
Shasta404
Mono371
Mendocino330
Yuba311
Lake300
Inyo201
Glenn170
Calaveras160
Mariposa161
Amador100
Siskiyou90
Colusa70
Tehama61
Tuolumne50
Lassen50
Plumas40
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 74°
Brookings
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 75°
Grants Pass
72° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 72°
Klamath Falls
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 75°
Big changes into the weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events