|(18 Dec 2023)
A new record was reached in November. The Immigration Court backlog passed 3 million pending cases. Just 12 months ago, during November 2022, the backlog was 2 million. That means the case backlog has grown by a million cases in just the past 12 months.
During just the last quarter of July to September 2023, the backlog jumped by nearly 400,000 cases -- an average increase of 130,000 cases per month. During October and November 2023 the monthly growth was even higher.
Previous administrations—all the way back through at least the George W. Bush administration—have failed when they tried to tackle the seemingly intractable problem of the Immigration Court's backlog.
Hiring of new judges accelerated during the first three years of the Biden administration. The EOIR's latest personnel records show a total of 682 Immigration Judges now on the bench. In addition, each judge closed on average around 975 cases during the latest fiscal year. This is a closure rate nearly a third greater than seven years ago during the final year of the Obama administration. Even so, more judges and higher case closures per judge have still not been able to keep pace with the flow of incoming cases. Thus, average caseloads of the 682 judges now on the bench have jumped to 4,500 per judge.