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Texas Tribune
May 27, 2010

Immigration cases backlogged, especially in El Paso, San Antonio
By Julian Aguilar

Nearly 243,000 cases nationally awaited adjudication as of March, according to the most recent data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, and the advocacy group Human Rights Watch. Texas had more than 18,000 unresolved cases, including an estimated 5,900 in Houston, 3,430 in San Antonio, 3,250 in Dallas and 3,200 in El Paso. The figures for San Antonio and El Paso represent increases of 40 and 28 percent, respectively, since the end of November 2009 - two of the highest percentage increases in the country during that period. The state's total number of pending cases ranked fourth nationally, behind California, New York and Florida. TRAC director Sue Long says the Justice Department's inability to keep pace with judicial turnover has primarily caused the backlog (the government prefers the term "caseload"). In its March report, TRAC noted, "Even as the annual count of backlogged matters has continued to grow, an effort launched in the last years of the Bush Administration to increase the number of specialized judges who process them appears to have made little progress in the first year of the Obama administration." Despite the surge in detainees, the number of judges actually decreased by two, to 227, from April 2009 to the end of March 2010. Forty-eight judicial posts remain vacant, according to the report.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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