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Immigration Impact
April 4, 2018

Immigration Judge Quotas Could Result in Assembly Line Justice
By Joshua Breisblatt

The current immigration court backlog stands at a record 684,583 cases. This has continued to grow under the Trump administration, going from 516,031 at the end of Fiscal Year 2016 to where it stands now. One of the reasons the backlog has continued to grow at a faster rate under the Trump administration is their elimination of enforcement priorities and prosecutorial discretion. Since the Obama administration utilized prosecutorial discretion by concentrating on removals of individuals with criminal convictions and recent border arrivals, cases falling outside of that focus were often closed. Doing so removed the case from the judge’s calendar and temporarily stopped the removal proceedings. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, immigration courts under the Obama administration were administratively closing an average of 2,400 cases per month one year prior to the Trump administration taking office.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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