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Medill News Service
November 30, 2017

Immigration courts remain backlogged in big cities as judges are sent to the border
By Mariana Alfaro

According to Politico, in January there were around 540,000 cases caught in the immigration court backlog. By August 2017, the number had grown to 632,261, with nearly 50 percent of these cases in California, New York and Texas — states that account for nearly half of the country’s immigrant population, according to the Pew Research Center. Judges sent to the border told Politico that their dockets were nearly empty in their newly assigned courts, with some likening the temporary uproot to a vacation. Meanwhile, 27 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico continued slowly processing the cases already assigned to their courts. Sessions promised at least 50 new immigration judges would be added to the bench this year, and so far 12 have been sworn in by the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Only one of them, however, has been assigned to the New York City immigration court. New York is the city most affected by the backlog, with nearly 83,000 cases in its docket, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse tool, a database hosted by Syracuse University and created to track immigration cases’ progress through the courts. Even with 32 immigration judges, as it currently stands, the New York court averages nearly 2,594 cases per judge a year.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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