|(16 Dec 2022)
The Immigration Court has been steadily increasing the pace of its hearings and case completions. As of the end of November 2022, the court had almost doubled the number of completed cases during just the first two months of FY 2023, as compared with the first two months of FY 2022. As of the end of November 2022, the Court had already closed 85,862 cases. This compares with the same time a year ago when it had completed 43,156 cases.
Nonetheless, an even higher number of new filings are arriving. The Immigration Court recorded receiving 170,398 new cases so far in FY 2023. This has pushed the Court’s backlog above 2 million pending cases for the first time. A total of 2,023,441 cases were pending before the Court at the end of November 2022.
Miami-Dade County, Florida, has the largest backlog with over 100,000 residents with pending cases. Harris County, Texas is second with over 75,000 cases, followed by Los Angeles, California, with a backlog of 74,000 cases.
A substantial component of the Court’s backlog included in this 2 million consists of individuals seeking asylum. The asylum backlog in November reached an all-time high as well of 787,882 cases. Wait times for these asylum seekers for the hearing on their claims now is averaging 1,572 days or 4.3 years.
According to court records, only a tiny fraction (0.56%) of FY 2023 new cases sought deportation orders based on any alleged criminal activity of the immigrant, apart from possible illegal entry.
During the first two months of this fiscal year, immigration judges have issued removal and voluntary departure orders in 40% of completed cases, totaling 34,005 deportation orders.
So far in FY 2023 (through November 2022), immigrants from Honduras top the list of nationalities with the largest number ordered deported.
Only 21.1% of immigrants, including unaccompanied children, had an attorney to assist them in Immigration Court cases when a removal order was issued.
Immigration judges have held 5,818 bond hearings so far in FY 2023 (through November 2022). Of these only 1,948 were granted bond.
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