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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Ballooning Wait Times for Hearing Dates in Overworked Immigration Courts

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From Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration:

There were nearly a half million individual deportation cases (456,644) pending before the judges in the nation's clearly overwhelmed Immigration Courts at the end of August, according to the very latest information obtained from the U.S. Department of Justice and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). This backlog has been rising steadily for nearly a decade and has reached yet another new all-time high.

As a result, the average wait time for an individual in the Immigration Court's pending cases list has also reached an all-time high of 635 calendar days. But this average wait time only measures how long these individuals have already been waiting, not how much longer they will have to wait before their cases are resolved.

The severity of the rapidly growing crisis was revealed last January, when the court issued thousands of letters notifying individuals that their cases would be delayed for nearly five years more until November 29, 2019.

Figure 1. Number of Cases Pending in Immigration Court

TRAC determined that the immigration court backlog increased by more than 100,000 cases from the 344,230 that were pending at the beginning of FY 2014.

For more details see TRAC's Immigration Court Backlog tool, updated monthly.

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