Civil Immigration Suits Continue to Rise
(29 Jun 2021) The latest available data from the federal courts show that during May 2021 the government reported 467 new civil immigration filings. All but one were suits filed in which the federal government or its officials were the defendant. According to the case-by-case court records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, this number is up 4.0 percent over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 449.

When monthly civil immigration filings are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was up 8.1 percent. In general, civil immigration filings have been rising over the past five years particularly during the last two years. Overall, the data show that civil immigration lawsuits have almost doubled — up 98.8 percent — from levels reported in May 2016.

Most immigration suits brought are seeking review of agency action or inaction. Many suits were filed with their cause of action citing the Administrative Procedures Act, or were mandamus actions seeking to compel action on visa and naturalization applications, or to review denials.

Habeas corpus actions seeking review by immigrants being detained are another category. The volume of these is down from last year during the height of the COVID pandemic. There was only one suit challenging a deportation order last month — perhaps not surprising since interior immigration enforcement is down and most immigrants are currently being turned away at the border and not allowed to enter the country.

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