Putting TRAC to Work
  Policy and Public Interest Groups
National Immigration Forum
April 11, 2018

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on " A ‘Caravan’ of Illegal Immigrants: A Test of U.S. Borders "

For years, U.S. immigration courts have faced increasing backlogs. In FY 2017, there were 629,051 pending cases in the U.S. immigration court system. Consistent with the increasing caseloads in the immigration courts, asylum decisions were up sharply in FY 2017, with a total of 30,179 decided cases, a 35 percent increase from 22,312 cases resolved in FY 2016. This represented the largest number of decided asylum cases since FY 2005. Although asylum grants increased in FY 2017, denials increased even faster, with immigration courts denying 61.8 percent of asylum cases, up from 44.5 percent in FY 2012, marking the fifth consecutive year where the denial rate has increased. Of the asylum cases decided by U.S. immigration courts between FY 2012 and FY 2017, applicants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala had some of the largest denial rates about79 percent, 78 percent and 75percent, respectively. The increasing denial rate corresponded with a larger share of asylum seekers who were unable to obtain legal representation. While in FY 2007, only 13.6 percent of asylum seekers were unrepresented, in FY 2017 the figure reached 20.6 percent. Without representation, asylum seekers are less likely to obtain favorable asylum rulings. Only 1 in 10 individuals wins his or her asylum petition in court.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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