New Immigration Court Data Show Sharp Drop in New Cases, Increase in Case Closures
(09 Feb 2024) According to the latest court records the number of incoming cases declined substantially in January 2024, when the Immigration Courts received 154,057 new cases, a drop of over 110,000 in monthly new arrivals at the Court compared to December. At the same time, Court completions last month jumped to a new record high with 76,679 closures, which is 45 percent greater than they were at this time a year ago.

Both of these figures are helpful for understanding the current state of the Immigration Court backlog. The Immigration Court backlog, which now stands at over 3.3 million cases, has been the subject of significant public concern. The backlog is shaped by the number of new cases coming in and the number cases closed. The latest data, received and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, show a generally positive trend in January, since fewer incoming cases and greater numbers of case closures are two ways to slow the growth of the backlog.

Highlights from data updated in TRAC's Immigration Court tools show that:

  • Immigration Courts recorded receiving 844,333 new cases so far in FY 2024 as of January 2024. This compares with 277,533 cases that the court completed during this period.

  • According to court records, only 0.29% of FY 2024 new cases sought deportation orders based on any alleged criminal activity of the immigrant, apart from possible illegal entry.

  • Immigration Court recorded closing 277,533 cases so far in FY 2024 as of January 2024.

  • At the end of January 2024, 3,363,667 active cases were pending before the Immigration Court.

  • Miami-Dade County, FL, has the most residents with pending Immigration Court deportation cases (as of the end of January 2024).

  • So far this fiscal year (through January 2024), immigration judges have issued removal and voluntary departure orders in 34.4% of completed cases, totaling 88,015 deportation orders.

  • Among Immigration Court cases completed in January 2024, immigrants in West Virginia had the highest proportion ordered removed. Rhode Island residents had the lowest proportion ordered removed.

  • So far in FY 2024 (through January 2024), immigrants from Honduras top list of nationalities with largest number ordered deported.

  • Only 15.7% of immigrants, including unaccompanied children, had an attorney to assist them in Immigration Court cases when a removal order was issued in January 2024 .

  • Immigration judges have held 8,816 bond hearings so far in FY 2024 (through January 2024). Of these 2,450 were granted bond.

For more information, see TRAC's Immigration Court Quick Facts or see TRAC's full range of immigration court tools online here.

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