Immigrants Facing Deportation Wait Twice as Long in FY 2021 Compared to FY 2020
The latest available case-by-case Immigrant Court records show that immigration cases that were completed in the first four months of FY 2021 took nearly twice as long from beginning to end as cases completed in the first four months of FY 2020. Cases that were completed between the beginning of October 2020 and the end of January 2021 took, on average, 859 days compared to 436 days over the same period a year before. The duration was calculated as the number of days between the date the Notice to Appear was issued to the date of completion as recorded in the Immigration Court's records.
Figure 1. Immigrants Facing Deportation Wait Twice as Long in FY 2021 Compared to FY 2020
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Cases that are still pending with the court have already been waiting even longer. The average wait time for pending cases is now 889 days not including the additional time needed before their hearing is scheduled.
In each of the first four months of FY 2021, completion times have been growing progressively longer. In the first month of October 2020, cases that were completed took, on average, 727 days. The average for October and November was 755 days. The average for October through December was 775 days. And now the average for all closures from October through January has reached 859 days.
The top ten Immigration Courts with the most case completions thus far in FY 2021 are shown in Table 1. These ten courts accounted for four out of every ten closures (42%). The Miami Immigration Court was the most active with 2,129 case closures. Completion times at the Miami Immigration Court have increased since November 2020, but were slightly lower than the national average at 832 average days. In November, the Miami court took on average 787 days. The Immigration Court in Los Angeles had the second highest number of case completions with 1,857 case closures, followed closely by San Francisco with 1,849. Baltimore and Dallas were in fourth and fifth place. See Table 1.
The longest disposition times were found in the Atlanta Immigration Court where it took on average 1,577 days to close a case. The Cleveland Immigration Court was close behind, taking an average of 1,573 days. The Arlington Immigration Court was in third place with completion times so far in FY 2021 averaging 1,535 days. Newark and Boston Immigration Courts were in fourth and fifth place. Cases completed by immigration judges in Atlanta, Cleveland, Arlington, and Newark all took, on average, longer than four years. See Table 2.