Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
January 24, 2024

Immigration Atty Representation Rates Dropped, Report Says
By Dorothy Atkins

The average rate of immigration attorneys available to represent noncitizen clients in the rising backlog of cases pending in immigration courts across the country has dropped from 65% five years ago to 30%, according to a report published by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse on Wednesday. Last year, roughly 1.49 million new immigration cases were filed across the country, but by December 2023, the immigration court's backlog had grown to roughly 3.29 million cases, with each immigration judge handling an average of 4,500 cases, according to the data research organization TRAC. The number of backlog cases pending in immigration courts has also increased more than three-fold since September 2019, and, although the total number of immigrants with legal representation in recent years has increased, the percentage of immigrants who have found attorneys has not kept pace, rising only roughly 50 percent. "A shortage of immigration attorneys given this meteoric rise in demand should not be unexpected," the report says. "While there are many barriers to immigrants finding representation, a shortage of available attorneys is a key constraint on why representation rates have plummeted from 65 percent down to 30 percent."

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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