Immigration Court Backlog Has Now Reached 3 Million Pending Cases

Stephen Katte
By Stephen Katte
December 19, 2023Border Security
Immigration Court Backlog Has Now Reached 3 Million Pending Cases
A U.S. Border Patrol agent watches over more than 2,000 illegal immigrants at a field processing center in Eagle Pass, Texas on Dec. 18, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Another grim milestone in the ongoing United States border crisis has been reached after the backlog of pending cases in immigration courts passed three million this November.

According to a new report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonprofit data research center at Syracuse University, this figure represents a “new record,” with the backlog never reaching such highs before. Even with a record number of judges working on the cases and a faster completion rate, the flood of cases is proving too much to keep up with.

“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 backlog,” TRAC said.

“Recently, however, the accelerating growth in the Court’s backlog has transformed the problem into an even more daunting challenge.”

Only 12 months ago, the backlog was reportedly at two million, representing a significant uptick in pending immigration cases throughout 2023. TRAC notes that immigration judges are “swamped” as a result, with each individual magistrate averaging 4,500 pending cases each—with cases only growing with the continuing influx of illegal immigrants at the border. The data research center also revealed that the number of pending cases is so high it now outnumbers the population of some U.S. cities.

“If every person with a pending immigration case were gathered together, it would be larger than the population of Chicago, the third largest city in the United States,” TRAC said.

“Indeed, the number of waiting immigrants in the Court’s backlog is now larger than the population found in many states.”

Since the expiration of Title 42 earlier this year, the Biden administration has been under increasing pressure to address the massive influx of people trying to cross into the United States illegally. Title 42 allowed the U.S. government to expel people from the country if they came from a location where an infectious disease was present.

Backlog on the Rise Since Trump Years

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have seen the highest number of illegal immigrant encounters on record over the last few months. A staggering number of unvetted immigrants have been trying to enter the United States, with Border Patrol agents reporting a more than 1,000 percent increase in the number of illegal immigrants.

According to TRACs, the number of pending immigration cases has been on the rise since at least 2016, the final fiscal year of the Obama administration, when the backlog stood at 516,031 cases. At that point, immigration judges had an average caseload of 1,850 each.

There are different explanations as to why there have been droves of people risking an attempt at illegal immigration into the United States; economic turmoil in Central America, the war in Europe and other turmoil around the world are obvious reasons why so many people are on the move. However, according to the CBP, one cause of the considerable spike in people trying to cross the border could be people smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals and encourage migration.

Ports of entry in Texas and Arizona have been particularly hard pressed. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) revealed in a Dec. 18 post on X, formerly Twitter, that the Lukeville border wall in Arizona had to be repatched six times in one day.

“The Biden Administration has got to stop these massive migration flows,” Rep. Biggs said. “They must build more wall, enforce our laws, and remove folks who shouldn’t be here.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for further comment.

From The Epoch Times

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