Immigration Court Cases Jump in June 2021; Delays Double This Year
(28 Jul 2021) The number of new deportation cases filed by the Biden administration is on the rise. Deportation orders sought by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jumped by nearly 50 percent in June, compared with the number filed in May. The number of new cases continues to severely outpace the rate at which judges can keep up. As a result, the Immigration Court backlog has increased by almost 100,000 cases since September 2020 at the end of the fiscal year 2020. The total backlog as of the end of June 2021 had reached its highest level ever at 1,357,820 cases waiting to be heard.

Another factor adding to the backlog's growth was that cases have been taking longer to complete. On average, cases completed during the first nine months of FY 2021 took 891 days (or 2.4 years) from the date of their Notice to Appear (NTA) to a decision, twice as long compared with FY 2020. Unusual circumstances beyond the control of the courts, and the pandemic certainly falls into that category, affected the composition of cases that made it to the final stage of the deportation process and may have played a significant role in shaping these outcomes.

As the backlog grows, however, cases in the pending court workload will wait even longer. Already, the average wait for a hearing date as of the end of December 2020 was 1,642 days or about 4.5 years.

These findings come from the latest case-by-case court records obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

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