Incomplete and Garbled Immigration Court Data Suggest Lack of Commitment to Accuracy
(31 Oct 2019) TRAC recently discovered gross irregularities in recent data releases from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the agency that oversees the U.S. immigration court system. After attempting - unsuccessfully - to work with the EOIR to fix these problems, TRAC decided to make public our observations of the quality of the agency's public data releases as well as express our concerns about the lack of commitment within the agency to responsible data management.

On October 9, 2019, the EOIR responded to TRAC's routine FOIA request for updated case-by-case data through September 2019. TRAC promptly began processing the data, and discovered serious inconsistencies that made the data unusable. TRAC alerted the EOIR to the problems we uncovered, and attempted to work with the agency through a series of additional flawed productions. However, EOIR ultimately declined to provide any assurances on the accuracy of the data it had provided TRAC.

TRAC views the issues with EOIR's data inconsistencies - described in the full report - as substantive, ongoing, and in need of prompt attention. Of greatest concern is the apparent lack of commitment from EOIR to ensure the public is provided with accurate and reliable data about the Court's operations.

It is deeply troubling that rather than working cooperatively with TRAC to clear up the reasons for these unexplained disappearances, the agency has decided to dig in its heels and insist the public is not entitled to have answers to why records are missing from the data EOIR releases to the public. TRAC urges the EOIR to take the basic steps necessary for managing any large database, especially a database of as inestimable value and relevance as the one EOIR maintains for the Immigration Courts.

To read the full report, including details on the problems TRAC uncovered, go to:

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