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Backlog of Immigration Court Cases Hits Record High
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An immigrant crosses a border wall into Arizona from Mexico. Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.

Summary: The United States has a whopping 500,000 immigration court cases backlogged.

The backlog of immigration court cases has reached an all-time high. The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) said they have over 500,000 pending cases, and that number has risen because of unaccompanied minors and Central Americans crossing the borders over the years.

  
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EOIR spokeswoman Kathryn Mattingly told Buzzfeed News that they currently have 277 judges but are seeking a total of 399.

“We currently have approximately 100 more immigration judges at various stages of the hiring process,” Mattingly said.

The majority of immigrants are fleeing violence from their homes or seeking economic opportunities, Buzzfeed said. Last year, the number of cases was approximately 450,000, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. The year before was less than that–at approximately 400,000.

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The Daily Caller added that the backlog problem is because there are less than 300 judges for 57 jurisdictions, and those judges cannot cross to work in other areas, even if there is a need. For instance, in Houston, there are almost 40,000 pending cases for five immigration judges, which averages to almost 22 cases a day, every day for a year with no breaks. However, Boston, which has six judges, has about 14,000 cases, almost one third of Houston’s number.

In addition to the backlog reaching a record high, the average detention period has also risen. According to The Daily Caller, the period is now 404 days, and it costs the United States almost $3 billion over a course of one year to house the detainees. To fight this problem, the Supreme Court announced that it will rule on whether detained illegal immigrants may be eligible for bail hearings.



Besides hiring judges, what can be done to fix the backlog? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Buzzfeed, The Daily Caller



 

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