How busy are immigration court judges?

The Dept. of Justice administers the country’s immigration court.

The backlog of cases before the immigration courts surged after the early 2000s. From FY 2003 through FY 2015, the average days pending tripled from slightly over 200 days to over 600 days. In mid 2016 there were 233 judges, handling on average over 1,400 “matters”/year on average at the end of FY 2014—far more than Social Security administrative law judges (544 hearings/year in 2007).

A May 10, 2018 article reports that there are now 334 judges and about 700,000 pending cases. Based on current trends, about 184,000 cases will be completed in FY 2018, or on average 550 per judge, or 10 a week. (Also go here.)

The Department of Justice wants judges to complete 700 cases a year, and introduced a performance system.

If you are detained, your case will be completed on average in about 40 days. The number of cases in which the defendant fails to appear will probably be about 45,000 this fiscal year.

184,000 cases is equivalent to about about 1.4% of the number of unauthorized persons in the U.S.  The DOJ’ performance system assuming 350 judges would amount to 245,000 cases a year.

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