Thursday, June 18, 2009

Immigration Court Backlogs Grow

Julia Preston of the N.Y. Times reports on a new "report, by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse [TRAC], a nonpartisan group that analyzes data about federal government performance, found that the shortage of [immigration court] judges had contributed to a 19 percent increase in the backlog of cases since 2006 and a 23 percent increase in the time it takes to resolve them." (emphasis added).  What does this mean?  It means that, while enforcement dollars have gone up and up and up, invvestments in the overworked immigrtaion courts has not kept pace.  This means longer  times to decisions for immigrants facing removal, longer detentions (and increased expenditures) for noncitizens in custody, and huge caseloads for the immigration judges, who have been criticized for their professionalism for a number of years (including by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales).

The TRAC report concluded that the failure to increase immigration judges -- promised by the Bush Administration in the summer of 2006 -- contributed to a substantial jump in the number of backlogged cases in the Immigration Courts. The report, based on an extensive analysis of hundreds of thousands of records obtained from the Executive Office for Immigration Review under the FOIA, also showed that the waiting time required to dispose of the cases -- many of them involving detained aliens -- has grown much longer. Read the new TRAC report by clicking the link.


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