Putting TRAC to Work
  Policy and Public Interest Groups
Migration Policy Institute
September 2018

The U.S. Asylum System in crisis: Charting a Way Forward
By Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman, and T. Alexander Aleinikoff

Like affirmative asylum seekers, defensive applicants face lengthy wait-times for their cases to be heard. As of the end of July 2018, EOIR had a record backlog of 746,000 cases of all types, with defensive asylum cases among them (see Figure 5). This reflects the continued growth of the backlog in recent years. Data for FY 2018 show the year-to-date pending caseload through July 2018. Although asylum cases are not the cause of the backlog (they make up about 30 percent of cases in immigration court), they are nonetheless dramatically affected by it—some applicants must wait up to five years for a hearing. A recent increase in the number of immigration judges from 250 in 2016 to approximately 350 in 2018 has not slowed new growth in the backlog and is not expected to make headway in eliminating it. Note: Annual figures reflect the pending caseload at the close of each fiscal year.......[citing TRAC research].

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