Politics

Immigration Backlog Soars Above 700,000

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Molly Prince Politics Reporter

The number of pending immigration cases in the U.S. reached record highs in May, surpassing the 700,000 mark.

There were 714,067 cases awaiting decisions as of the end of May, according to the most recent data available from the TRAC Immigration database. TRAC, which was established to gather information under the Freedom of Information Act, monitors the U.S. federal immigration enforcement.

Comparatively, there were more than 400,000 backlogged in 2014, 450,000 in 2015 and 515,000 in 2015, reported ABC News. Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, roughly 172,000 more pending cases were added, bringing the total cases at the time to 542,411, a 32 percent increase. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Announces Legislation To Keep Illegal Immigrant Families Together)

The volume of backlogged cases has been increasing, however, the pace has not. Immigration cases have been filed at a slower rate than during the same period in 2017, which is primarily attributed to the prolonged time it takes to complete proceedings due to over-crowded dockets.

Although the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions enacted policies aimed at expediting the process, the average length of time to adjudicate cases has also reach an all-time high. It takes 501 days to complete a removal order starting from the Notice to Appear date to the decision. This is a 28 percent increased length of time compared to the same period in 2017. Relief decisions, on the other hand, increased 17 percent, to an average of 1,064 days.

Sessions has indicated that he would like to hire additional federal judges to help address the backlogs, according to ABC News. However, GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas announced emergency immigration legislation on Monday that would double the number of immigration judges to around 750.

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