Saturday, July 29, 2017
The American Immigration Council's Immigrant Impact reports on a troubling development in the immigration courts. Due to the Trump administration's decision to end the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in seeking to bring removal cases, the backlogs of cases in the immigration courts is growing.
The Department of Justice announced last month that it now has hired 326 immigration judges, 53 more judges than July 2016, yet during that time the immigration court backlog has grown. According to new data released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) the reason for this may be due to the fact that the Trump administration has nearly ended the use of prosecutorial discretion to close cases, forcing judges to place them all on their dockets.
According to TRAC, from February through June of 2016, the Obama administration closed an average of approximately 2,400 cases per month by using prosecutorial discretion in immigration court. During the same period in 2017, under the Trump administration, fewer than 100 cases were closed per month. This amounts to a 96 percent drop in the use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration removal proceedings.