Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
Minnesota Lawyer
December 12, 2019

Asylum cases outstrip attorneys’ ability to help

The U.S. Department of Justice has instructed immigration judges to pick up the pace of their cases. A faster schedule means asylum-seekers often have no time to secure legal help, which practically ensures their deportation, attorneys say. Since 2017, when Trump took office, the backlog of immigration cases nationwide has shot up, from 629,051 in fiscal year 2017 to 1,023,767 in 2019 – a 63% increase. In Maryland, the number of pending immigration cases has gone up from 26,007 in fiscal 2017 to 38,081 in fiscal 2019 – a 46% increase — according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse’s immigration database (trac.syr.edu/immigration). The nationwide backlog has increased more dramatically since 2013, going from 344,230 pending cases in fiscal year 2013 to 1,023,767 in 2019 – a 197% increase, according to TRAC. In Maryland, the case backlog rose 626% in that period, from 5,245 pending cases in fiscal 2013 to 38,081 in 2019, TRAC reported.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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