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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Obama Deportation Backlog Has Reached A Half Million

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Via the Associated Press:

The backlog in the federal immigration court system has eclipsed half a million pending cases, The Associated Press has learned.

The Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review said Wednesday there are now 500,051 pending immigration cases in the agency's courts.

The backlog has been steadily rising in recent years as the number of unaccompanied children and people traveling as families have been caught crossing the Mexican border illegally. Since 2011 more than 200,000 cases have been added to the court's docket and backlog is likely to continue growing.

More than 51,000 people traveling as families and more than 43,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala, have been caught crossing the border illegally since the start of the budget year in October.

Click here for TRAC Immigration's backlog chart.

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Updated 07-21-2016 at 05:10 AM by MKolken


  1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    What do you suggest? I wrote decisions at the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. I can tell you that there aren't going to be any solutions that will please everyone. If no one does anything, the judges will move cases as quickly as they can, which will result in hasty decisions and difficult cases that require more time will suffer. You might like the results of hasty disposition. I suspect it will depend on whether you like the outcomes. But I don't like them. I think each case should get as much time as it takes to dispose of its issues properly.

    And i can suggest a way to do it. A system has to be set up to screen out meritless cases. The Board already has such a system in place for appeals. They call it streamlining. The clerks in the docket room separate out the thin files without briefs that just have a short appeal statement on the Appeal form, and they send them to the streamlining panel where they are screened a second time by attorneys. If they do not raise a significant issue, they are disposed of with a form decision, i.e., the attorney will type in the names etc and print out a prepared decision with a cover sheet that very briefly describes what the case is about and why the attorney doesn't think it has any merit. When I did my tour on the streamlining panel, I was in the Century Club, which meant that I did 100 or more cases a month....not often but usually I was close to that mark.

    And the cases that do appear to have merit are sent back to the docket room with a notation to assign them to a merits panel where they will get a full review.

    Is that a good system? It depends on what your objective is. If it is to separate out meritless cases so adequate time can be spent on the cases that should get full treatment, yes. It works well and probably doesn't give streamlined treatment to a significant number of cases that would have had a different outcome if they had gone to a merit's panel. Yes, we had forms for granting appeals too, not just for dismissing them.

    With cases that have not been decided yet by an immigration judge, the obvious choice would be to put the unaccompanied alien children back in the expedited removal proceedings system and make them pass the credible fear test to get a hearing before an immigration judge.
  2. MKolken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Rappaport
    What do you suggest?
    The expansion of parole in place on a case by case basis to individuals that are beneficiaries of approved immigrant petitions (I-130/I-140) with current or soon to be current priority dates that are otherwise eligible to adjust but for entry without inspection or unlawful presence.
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