Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

Despite Trump Administration's Attempt to Cut Backlogs, Immigration Courts Caseloads Are Growing 

  • Brian Turner via Flickr creative commons
The Trump administration's plan to slash the backlog of immigration cases by pressuring judges to hear more cases has had the opposite effect, according to new data.

The average wait for an immigration hearing is now more than two years, according to a Los Angeles Times review of Syracuse University’s Transactional Access Records Clearinghouse, which follows data from immigration courts.

Since the Justice Department approved a plan in October 2017 to winnow down immigration court backlogs, the pending caseload has expanded by 26 percent, growing from 655,932 cases to around 830,000, according to clearinghouse data.

The San Antonio court currently has 27,400 pending cases, according to Syracuse's numbers. Houston is the only Texas court with a higher number of cases waiting to be heard.

And the university's data still understates the backlog, because it doesn't include the results of the recent 35-day government shutdown. Around 60,000 hearings were canceled while the nation's 400 immigration judges were off work.

The administration “has not only failed to reduce the backlog, but has eroded the court’s ability to ensure due process” by pressuring judges to rule “at a breakneck pace," the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said in a statement supplied to the Los Angeles Times.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues


Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation