News and Commentary

1.3 Million People Awaiting Deportation Hearings; Average Case Now Takes Three Years Due To Backlog

   DailyWire.com
A view of the border through Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on July 5, 2021.
David Peinado/NurPhoto via Getty Images

So many people are coming into America illegally that the average length of a deportation case takes more than three years to clear.

The Washington Times reported that more than “1.3 million people are currently awaiting deportation decisions in immigration courts,” with the average case now pending for nearly three years. The information comes from new data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

“A decade ago just 300,000 cases were pending, and even three years ago it was fewer than 770,000 cases, meaning the government has netted more than 550,000 cases on its docket since 2018,” the outlet reported.

More from the Times:

Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the growth is a sign of just how lax America’s border controls have become, and how immigrants who are in the country illegally have gotten good at exploiting loopholes, demanding lengthy court proceedings when previously they would have quickly been ousted.

“There simply are more people who are allowed to have immigration court hearings instead of being processed in an efficient manner, such as expedited removal or other choices that ICE has,” Ms. Vaughan said. “Frankly, most of these cases don’t belong in immigration court, or if they are, it should be on a rocket docket, because they have no legitimate claim to stay; they are gaming the system.”

She said it’s become “absurdly difficult” — not to mention costly — to oust someone who wants to fight a removal. And that’s fueling the current border surge.

TRAC calculations show that even if no new cases were added – as in, immigration enforcement was completely ended both internally and externally – it would take more than four years to work through the existing case backlog. More cases are added regularly, however, with 1,290,766 cases currently pending as of the beginning of 2021. By the end of May, just four months into President Joe Biden’s administration, that number grew to 1,337,372 cases, with the average case pending for around 946 days.

As the Times reported, some of the pending cases date back decades, brought by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, an agency that was disbanded in 2003 when the Department of Homeland Security was created.

“California has the most people stuck in the backlog, with 193,212, followed by Texas at 171,579. In terms of courtrooms, Texas has the most pending cases with 213,254, followed by California at 198,785,” the Times reported. “Those two states also represent two poles of the immigration spectrum, with California being an avowed sanctuary state and Texas adopting strict anti-sanctuary policies that force cooperation between local authorities and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

The crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border has become worse under the Biden administration, which dropped former President Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy for those attempting to cross into the United States. The move prompted at least 10,000 migrants whose asylum claims were denied to again claim asylum, The Daily wire previously reported.

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