Putting TRAC to Work
  Policy and Public Interest Groups
Center for Immigration Studies
June 9, 2017

Breaking Down the Increasing Backlogs in Immigration Court
By Andrew R. Arthur

Why was there such a stark increase in the backlog of cases, and decrease in the percentage of cases completed? A variety of factors, some of them susceptible to analysis, others less so, contributed to what has become a vicious circle of backlog, delay, and continuance. The first is resources. There are, simply put, too few judges (and complementary staff) to adequately do the job. With the swearing-in of seven new IJs last month, there are approximately 323 IJs. That number, however, includes a Chief IJ and 15 other Assistant Chief IJs, each of whom hear few, if any cases. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, through April 2017, there were 585,930 pending cases in the nation's immigration courts. This means that there are approximately 1,909 pending cases per IJ.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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