About the Research

This report utilizes three primary data sources: internal Immigration Court records, agency payroll records, and information on vacant positions. More specifically:

  1. Findings concerning the growing backlog of pending cases are based upon a detailed analysis of more than 4.9 million records obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). These data were extracted from EOIR's CASE database system which tracks the workload of the Immigration Courts. Records are current through the first two months of fiscal year 2010.

  2. Figures derived on the number of Immigration Court judges use agency payroll data for recent time periods, and TRAC analyses of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data on federal civilian employees for periods prior to 2008.

  3. Information on the number of unfilled immigration judge positions was furnished by EOIR in response to questions TRAC submitted to the agency.

For earlier related reports on this same topic, see TRAC's July 2008 and June 2009 reports. For further details concerning the definitions used in deriving pending case counts and wait times see About the Data.

Support for earlier phases of this research was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Syracuse University. Research for the current report was supported by a grant from Public Interest Projects.