A new report by TRAC, a group that collects information on immigration cases, finds that the backlog in Immigration Courts is worse than ever:
The number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts reached a new all-time high of 242,776 at the end of March 2010, according to very timely government enforcement data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The case backlog has continued to grow — up 6.3 percent — since TRAC’s last report four months ago, and nearly a third higher (30.4%) than levels a mere 18 months ago.
The backlog has resulted in longer delays in Immigration Court:
Wait times have also continued to inch upward. The average time these pending cases have been waiting in the Immigration Courts of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is now 443 days.
The longest delays are in California, where the average wait time is 627 days. TRAC blames the delays mainly on an insufficient number of IJs. I’ve discussed that issue before (We Need More Judges). In a recent exchange with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), that group argued that aliens are largly to blame for delays since they abuse the system to prolong (or completely avoid) removal. Maybe I will devote a future blog post to the reasons for delay, but for now, it seems the wait times are longer than ever and there is little relief in sight.