25 Years of Immigration Court Decisions
(09 Mar 2023) The number of Immigration Court case closures are headed to a new high this year. Outcomes on how cases are being decided also are setting both some specific record highs, as well as new lows. Results compare the current president's record with four previous presidential administrations stretching back 25 years to when Bill Clinton was president.

Under President Biden, the number of removal orders in FY 2023 are projected to surpass the highest number reached under former President Trump. However, the pace of removal orders for the first four months of FY 2023 may only tie the actual records set back in FY 2005 and FY 2006. In each of those two years during President George W. Bush's administration, a record 200,000 removal orders were issued by Immigration Judges annually.

During the Biden administration, relief grants reached a new high of 39,738 cases during FY 2022, and FY 2023 is on pace to break even that record. Relief figures include not just grants of asylum, but grants under any of the dozens of relief provisions explicitly created by Congress to enable specific classes of immigrants facing deportation to legally remain in this country. Even today a substantial number of grants of relief are for reasons other than for asylum. Over the past two decades, asylum grants are slightly less than half (46%) of all grants of relief the Court awarded.

If we look at this not in terms of raw numbers, but as a percentage of case closures, the Biden administration has actually the lowest rate of removal orders as well as the lowest rate of grants of relief. During both FY 2021 and FY 2022, just a third (32%) of closures were removal orders. So far this year, 44 percent of case closures have resulted in removal orders. This is tied with the fourth lowest annual rate during the past 25 years. The earlier lows occurred during the Obama presidency.

The Biden administration also has among the lowest rates for granting relief. During FY 2022 relief grants occurred in just 11 percent of all case closures. And so far during the first four months of FY 2023 only 10 percent of individuals have been granted relief. If this same pattern persists for the rest of FY 2023, the Biden presidency will hold the record of having the absolute lowest percentage of individuals granted relief in Court cases during the last 25 years.

To see report results covering other types of case outcomes, including terminations and the use of prosecutorial discretion, see:

The report analyzed data TRAC developed to support a brand new free web query tool which allows any member of the public to examine and drill into the outcomes of 25 years of Immigration Court proceedings available at:

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