Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
September 1, 2017

Immigration Case Backlog Still Growing, But Less Rapidly
By Kyle Jahner

The backlog of immigration cases continues to mount under the Trump administration, with a record 617,527 cases pending as of the end of July, though the still-precipitous growth rate has slowed somewhat amid a prolonged immigration judge hiring spree, according to data from Syracuse University researchers announced Thursday. Even though an increase of 7,000 pending cases over the preceding month lags the year’s average growth rate, data collected by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse indicates that the backlog that more than doubled in eight years under President Barack Obama continues to outpace growth from those years. An average immigration case now takes 677 days, or nearly two years, to resolve, another growing figure. “They’ve been hiring judges for two years. So judges are slowly improving, but they just haven’t been adequate to keep up with the workload,” said Susan Long, TRAC director and managerial statistics professor at Syracuse. Obama took office after more than a decade of a stable pending caseload below 200,000, and during his eight years that number grew about 42,000 per year, according to TRAC data. The pending caseload has already grown more than 100,000 in fiscal year 2017, or since Sept. 30, 2016, while average case duration has lengthened to 677 days from 670 since May.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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