US Immigration Case Backlog Tops 1 Million, Data Shows

September 19, 2019 Updated: September 20, 2019

The backlog in U.S. immigration court cases has exceeded 1 million, according to the latest data from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a research organization at Syracuse University.

As of the end of August, the court’s backlog of active cases reached 1,007,155, the data showed. This year, in particular, the backlog of pending court cases has surged when compared to previous years.

Last year, there were 768,257 cases in total; in 2017, it was 629,051.

There were an additional 322,535 cases that the courts say are pending, but have not yet been placed on the active caseload rolls, according to TRAC. If these cases were added to the current backlog, the number of cases would top 1.3 million.

Court records also reveal that during the first 11 months of fiscal year 2019, a total of 384,977 new cases reached the court. If it continues at that rate through the final month of this fiscal year, 2019 will also mark a new record, TRAC said.

In response to the data, a Justice Department spokesperson told The Epoch Times that while they do not “certify data from third parties,” the TRAC report and the department’s own data “further confirms there is a crisis at the border.”

“This Administration is taking aggressive steps to increase productivity, close loopholes, and hire a record number of judges to address the backlog with our existing authorities,” the spokesperson said via email on Sept. 19.

“This is only part of the solution, unfortunately, as Congress needs to act as well to address the border crisis.”

In June, the United States and Mexico reached a deal that would see an expanded implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, and increased security at the southern border. This deal came about after Trump threatened Mexico with a 5 percent import tariff on all goods coming from Mexico if the country didn’t take action to tackle the influx of illegal immigration at the border.

New cases under the “Remain in Mexico” policy made up only just under 10 percent of the new filings, the data showed. A total of 38,291 MPP cases as of the end of August reached the court, with 33,564 of them still pending.

“These MPP cases comprise an even smaller share—only 3.3 percent—of the court’s active backlog,” TRAC said.

Since the deal was made, Mexico has ramped up its security at its southern border. It has also deployed 21,600 police officers and National Guard troops across the nation.

The United States is dealing with a rising influx of illegal aliens, most of whom are traveling through Mexico from Central America. There have been 811,016 apprehensions along the Southwest Border in fiscal year 2019, as of August, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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