Immigration Section
April 2014 Issue
Content is updated daily

Wait Times Increase As Immigration Courts Battle Climbing Backlog

Despite a recent decrease in new court filings, the backlog for immigration cases continues to grow — according to data gathered by the non-profit TRAC Immigration Project. As a result, immigration service providers can expect to deal with increased processing and wait times for their clients.

The issue seems to be the inability of courts to keep up with the volume of cases, including cases that have been reopened or recently transferred to the courts. The backlog reached its peak height in August 2012, with pending 322,681 cases — representing an 8.4-percent increase from the previous year.

To date, unclosed cases have now already experienced an average wait-time of a year and a half, and are likely to take considerably longer before being resolved.

For more information, the TRAC website features an Immigration Court Backlog Tool that enables users to access detailed information on the immigration court’s current backlog, searchable by charge, state, nationality, Immigration court, and hearing location, as of August 2012. You can also access information tracking processing time by outcome (including removals, voluntary departures, terminations, relief, and administrative closures).

Key Points:

  • Immigration courts are now experiencing a significant backlog.
  • Applicants can expect extended wait times for processing.
  • TRAC offers tools to help track court processing times.

Additional Resources:

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