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Arizona Sonora News
March 24, 2016

Justice delayed: Immigration courts drown in backlogged cases
By Kendal Blust

U.S. immigration courts have more than 470,000 backlogged cases and an average wait time of nearly 670 days, according to data collected by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, which gathers, analyzes and distributes data. The addition of nine new judges early this year brought the total number of immigration judges to 254, according to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, the federal governmentís immigration court office under the Department of Justice. Despite this effort to mitigate the overloaded system, there are still more than 1,800 pending cases per judge, with some courts seeing much higher numbers. Arizona courts have nearly 13,000 pending cases and wait times averaging just over two years at 730 days, as of January. Phoenix is the second slowest court in the country, with an average wait time of 882 days per case, and nearly 10,000 pending cases to be seen by the courtís four immigration judges, according to TRAC. Only Denver courts have longer waits, averaging 933 days. Other courts in Arizona are not as slow. Eloy and Florence courts, which deal mainly with immigrants in detention, resolve cases in under 150 days on average. However, in Tucson cases are still backlogged by more than a year and a half.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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