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New Republic
June 24, 2014

There's A Huge Problem Making It Harder To Resolve The Child Migrant Crisis
By Rebecca Leber

One issue that probably won’t get enough attention is the giant backlog in immigration court system. It’s among the least sexy parts of the immigration controversy, but also an extremely important one. These backlogs mean long waits in or outside detention centers, even for the people who legally meet the requirements for asylum. For example, some children may qualify for protection because, in their home countries, they face threats of gang violence and drug trafficking. So how bad are the waits? Over the years, U.S. has ramped up its spending on immigration enforcement—overall, a 300 percent increase since 2002. Meanwhile, the budget for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (which oversees the courts) grew only 70 percent. A Washington Post profile of one immigration judge showed he had less than 7 minutes to decide each case, no matter the complexity of the law. The courts have a backlog of 367,000 cases since the start of the year of March 2014, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. The average wait is 578 average days.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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