Immigration Court's Active Backlog Surpasses One Million

The Immigration Court's active backlog of cases just passed the million case mark. The latest case-by-case court records through the end of August 2019 show the court's active case backlog was 1,007,155. If the additional 322,535 cases [1]which the court says are pending but have not been placed on the active caseload rolls are added, then the backlog now tops 1.3 million.

During the first eleven months of FY 2019, court records reveal a total of 384,977 new cases reached the court. If the pace of filings continues through the final month of this fiscal year, FY 2019 will also mark a new filing record.

While much in the news, new cases where individuals have been required to "Remain in Mexico" during their court processing currently make up just under 10 percent (9.9%) of these new filings. These MPP cases comprise an even smaller share - only 3.3 percent - of the court's active backlog.

As of the end of August, a total of 38,291 MPP cases had reached the court[2], of which 33,564 were still pending. MPP filings by month are shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Growth in "Remain in Mexico" Immigration Court Cases
(Click for larger image)

Readers can drill into countless additional details covering all 4.5 million court filings since FY 2001, the recent MPP component of these filings and the court's over 1 million active case backlog in online web tools accompanying this brief report.


[1] This EOIR number is as of the end of June 2019 and includes some pending BIA cases. These cases were previously administratively closed, but were ordered reopened by former Attorney General Sessions.

[2] The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) compiled counts that were recently provided to the Marshall Project. These counts appear to be unreliable. According to personal conversations with the author of that report, the EOIR statistics he had received from EOIR indicated that just under 17,000 MPP cases had been filed as of the end of August. However, EOIR's actual case-by-case records indicate that in fact 38,291 MPP cases had reached the court as of the end of August.

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