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Human Rights First
September 30, 2015

Temporary Spending Bill leaves Immigration Court Delays, Backlogs Unaddressed

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today urged Congress to find a long term solution to the mounting backlogs and delays caused by the underfunding of U.S. immigration courts. The call came in response to Congress’ passage of a temporary spending bill that does not include a critical increase in funding and staffing for these courts, a measure that has strong bipartisan support. “President Obama has recommended an increase in staffing for the immigration courts, and appropriators from both sides of the aisle in Congress supported that request. We applaud the bipartisan commitment to addressing this systemic problem, and urge the administration and Congress to redouble their efforts to address the longstanding under-funding that has led to massive delays and backlogs in the immigration courts,” said Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer. "These delays—now averaging almost 3 years—are prolonging the separation of refugee families and undermining the effectiveness of the immigration court removal process. " Earlier this month, a Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) report found that nearly half a million cases are pending before U.S. immigration courts and that on average there is a 635 day-wait time, an all-time high. The updated August numbers show 456,644 removal cases pending in immigration courts. TRAC also noted that “the projected total time from the date their case was filed until their hearing date is scheduled is now 1,071 days -- or just under three years (35.2 months).”

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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