Jun 17 2009
U.S. Justice Department Facing Highest Backlog of Immigration Cases in a Decade
According to a report just published by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan group that conducts analysis on the performance of the federal government, U.S. immigration courts are facing major slowdowns. According to TRAC, even though the Justice Department three years ago reported that U.S. immigration courts were severely overburdened and called for the hiring of 40 new judges, only a few judges have been hired and the reported backlog of immigration cases has hit the highest level this decade. TRAC reports that the lack of necessary judges has led to a 19 percent increase in case backlog since 2006 and a 23 percent increase in the time it takes to resolve cases.
In mid-April the Justice Department noted that there were 234 immigration judges practicing in the U.S., an increase of only 4 judges since two years prior. At the same time, the number of immigration cases received by U.S. courts peaked to exorbitant numbers; last year, more than 350,000 cases were received, due in large part to the Bush Administration’s crackdown on factories and immigrant communities in the Midwest and Southwest regions of the country.
Charles Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, recently commented that the Justice Department intends to hire 19 new immigration judges. By 2010, they plan to have hired 28 more judges and 28 clerks.