Putting TRAC to Work
  News Organizations
The Informant Kalwnews.org
August 24, 2010

Immmigration Courts: Why so backed up?
By Rina Palta

Even as Immigration and Customs Enforcement ramps up their search for undocumented immigrants and Congress sends $600 million to the border to increase patrols, there’s a fundamental problem: the enormous backlog of immigration cases in the courts. SyracuseUniversity’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which well, tracks the backlog has released the most recent total: as of mid June, there were 247,922 pending immigration cases in U.S. courts. Wait times for getting a case heard are also up, with those in California continuing to linger the longest: an average of 643 days. Why are the courts so backed up? TRAC offers several possible explanations: Changes in enforcement: immigration cases may be increasing simply because ICE is detaining more immigrants. This explanation applies more to cases introduced in 2009; as new cases have actually gone down this year. Cases may be growing more complex and therefore harder to resolve as new decisions come down from higher courts that impact how a case should be decided. And most likely of all, there simply aren’t enough judges. As of March, one out of every six judge positions was vacant. Only five have been filled since.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2011
TRAC TRAC at Work TRAC TRAC at Work News Organizations News Organizations