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The Crime Report
September 18, 2013

Inside Criminal Justice: Immigration courts around the U.S. are reeling under a huge backlog. One solution: hire more judges.

There may be no immigration court under more strain than the one in Los Angeles. A March 2010 report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University showed the court as having the most pending cases (about 43,000) of any in the country, and the longest average wait time between the case opening and final decision (713 days). And the Los Angeles court is just a leading indicator of whatís happening nationally. The TRAC report describes an entire system of overwhelmed immigration courts that are not keeping up with the cases sent to them. According to TRAC, the nationís number of pending immigration cases is at an all-time high of 228,421ó23 percent higher than in September 2008 and 82 percent higher than just 10 years ago. The TRAC studyís authors found that judges have an average of 70 minutes to spend on each case, the second lowest figure since 1998.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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