A Record Backlog in Immigration Courts

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post featured Suzie Kim of Mother Jones  in an article up HERE, which shows:

As President Obama has increased the number of deportations of immigrants, his administration has not increased the number of federal judges that can actually process the legal removal of immigrants from the country.

On President Obama's increase in enforcement Kim notes:

Obama has devoted nearly all his efforts on immigration to ramped up enforcement, and his administration is on track to deport a record number of illegal immigrants. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects the number of deportations to increase by 10 percent above Bush's 2008 total -- and 25 percent above the 2007 total.

A chart provided within the article shows that there has been a clear increase in number deportations:

So while the President has ramped up deportations  as of yet there has been no complimentary increase in the number of judges that can process these increased numbers of deportation.

Obama's Justice Department has also failed to fill an eyebrow-raising number of judicial vacancies in immigration courts. As of March, one out of every six positions remained unfilled, the Center for Investigative Reporting notes. At the time, the agency had promised to hire 47 judges by Sept. 30, but only five new immigration judges have been sworn in thus far. (The empty slots are also a reminder of the glaring number of judicial vacancies that have yet to be filled in the federal courts as well.)

The slowness of the administration to fill judicial vacancies is creating major problems:

The Center for Investigative Reporting explains: There were nearly 248,000 cases pending by the middle of June this year, a whopping 33 percent higher than where the figure stood at the end of fiscal year 2008. … TRAC also found that the average length of time it’s taken to conclude immigration cases during 2010 reached 459 days, a number higher than any year since at least 1998. By state, California remains the leader in average wait times with more than 640 days. One hearing location in San Diego posted an extraordinary average wait time of nearly 1,300 days, or to put it another way, more than three years.

Enforcement only measures are useless unless the infrastructure to process immigration both in and out of the country is changed.

If politicians are serious about solving the current immigration problems facing this country, they will have to look beyond merely throwing money at border enforcement and get serious about creating a process not just for deporting immigrants, but also allows  those that want to come to work, do so legally.

Comments