According to a recent AP news report, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is focusing its efforts on making an extremely overburdened immigration court system run more efficiently. With a historically high backlog of over one million cases, immigration officials are purchasing real estate to build new courts, hiring more immigration judges, and converting to an online filing system. Nonetheless, the immense backlog of cases continues to grow at an astonishing rate. In just two years, from October 2017 to October 2019, its monthly caseload more than doubled from just over 15,000 cases to almost 36,000 cases.
Currently, the wait time to resolve a case in which the immigrant is detained averages 130 days. For those immigrants who are not detained, however, their cases drag on for an average of 970 days, or nearly three years. Although the DOJ did inherit a backlog of cases, it has compounded its backlog numbers by a crackdown on illegal immigration and immigrants seeking asylum. The DOJ also ordered immigration judges to cease putting non-priority cases on hold, which has led to the reopening of hundreds of thousands of cases.
Meanwhile, EOIR has asked for a budget of $673 million this year, which is more than double the 2014 budget. While they still have positions for immigration judges available, they have no courtrooms to house them. They also plan to hire another 100 Spanish interpreters, as well as add Chinese interpreters,
Immigration judges report feeling pressured and forced into quotas as the Trump Administration urges them to handle more and more cases. These judges also are campaigning for an independent immigration court system, even as the EOIR is seeking to dismantle the judges’ labor union. As this labor dispute continues, the head of the unions feels that immigration judges have less power over their cases than ever before.
No matter the type of immigration issue you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you. We handle many different types of immigration cases every day and have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your legal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to resolve your immigration law case successfully.