U.S. immigration courts reached a record high of 521,676 backlogged cases in the first month of the federal government’s fiscal year 2017.
Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Clearinghouse released data Wednesday showing immigration court cases increased by 5,645 from September to October. Backlogged cases have increased every year since 2006. The number of backlogged cases broke 500,000 for the first time ever in July.
California, New York and Texas account for about half of the cases, with 95,801, 93,402, and 71,450 cases, respectively. Colorado has the longest wait, with cases currently pending an average of 1,008 days, or nearly three years. (RELATED: There Are So Many Immigration Cases, Many Won’t Go To Court For Years)
The Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review selects immigration court judges, but a perpetual shortage of judges has plagued the system for years.
These overwhelmed judges allow one in three illegal immigrants charged with serious crimes to go free, as The Daily Caller News Foundation has reported. About 57 percent of illegal immigrants with only immigration-related charges levied against them go free.
Republican Presidential-Elect Donald Trump has promised to build a wall between the U.S.-Mexico border, end sanctuary cities that protect illegal immigrants charged with crimes against federal deportation agents, and vet immigrants and refugees more strictly to get rid of what he calls “bad hombres.”
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