EOIR Response to
TRAC's Findings

Prior to publication, TRAC furnished its proposed findings to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to provide the agency with an opportunity to make suggestions and corrections. EOIR did not dispute TRAC's figures, nor challenge the fact that pending case backlogs were growing and wait times were increasing.

In a written statement furnished to TRAC, EOIR stated:

As with any court system, there are many variables that may lengthen the completion of a case. For example, the case may involve significant legal or unusual issues or other circumstances may arise resulting in a need to continue the case for a significant period; at the request of the alien or DHS, the case could be transferred to another court; or a review of the immigration judge's decision may lead to new proceedings. In the last example, although the proceedings would begin again, the original date that the charging document was filed with EOIR would remain the same.
This was the agency's complete comment. EOIR did not acknowledge the role that the available number of Immigration Judges played in the growing case backlog.

The agency's response was also off the mark on some simple factual matters. Because of the way EOIR records proceedings, neither case transfers nor the dates of the charging documents enter into the calculation of these backlog numbers.

TRAC explained the methodology used in some detail to EOIR at the time we furnished our findings for comment. Included in the explanation were the fact that the figures were based upon data EOIR had provided from the agency's own case tracking system, and how backlog numbers and wait times were computed.