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September 1, 2017

Despite more judges, immigration courts backlog grows to record high
By Megan Janetsky

Immigration court cases waiting to be heard hit an all-time high of 607,755 in June – 10,031 of them in Arizona – despite the hiring of more judges and a Trump administration directive to expedite cases. Immigration lawyers and advocates said they expect the backlog, which began in the early 2000s, will only continue grow as the current administration’s crackdown on immigrants gains steam. “It’s a combination of the lack of resources and immigration judges, along with the increased emphasis on deportation and removal that’s continued to increase over the last several years,” said Tucson immigration lawyer Mo Goldman. The backlog is based on the most-recent numbers from the Executive Office of Immigration Review. It has led to delays of 672 days on average in the U.S. for immigration cases to be heard, according to a review of the EOIR data by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. The delay was higher in Arizona, where people waited an average of 682 days for a hearing. And defendants in the Phoenix court had the sixth-longest wait time in the nation, with an average of 813 days to get a hearing, according to TRAC. Those were the averages: TRAC noted that some defendants are not scheduled to have hearings until after President Donald Trump’s first term is over.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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