Immigration Courts Paralyzed By Case Volume As 300 Judges Face 530,000 Pending Cases

Tyler Durden's picture

As the President gets ready to sign a new immigration executive order today (see our note here:  "Trump To Sign New Executive Order On Travel Bans Today: Will Exclude Iraq, Green Card Holders"), a group of overly burdened federal immigration judges are wondering whether they'll get additional support to tackle their already massive caseload which is sure to only balloon further under Trump's new rules.

As the Associated Press points out, there are 58 immigration courts in 27 states around the country with a total of 301 judges.  The problem, of course, is that those 301 judges already face a mountain of 534,000 pending immigration cases which is likely to balloon even higher under Trump's administration.

Of 374 authorized immigration judge positions, 301 are filled. Fifty more candidates are in various stages of the hiring process, which typically takes about a year, said Kathryn Mattingly, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review.


In all, more than 534,000 cases were pending before immigration courts nationwide in February, according to a recent memo from Kelly.

The massive backlog means that processing errors are a common occurrence and ultimately just result in illegal immigrants getting a free pass to reside in the country even longer.

The backlog and insufficient resources are problems stretching back at least a decade, said San Francisco Immigration Judge Dana Marks, speaking as the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.


"It would be a shame if the mistakes of the past continue to be repeated," Marks said, citing previous attempts to ramp up enforcement without providing adequate resources to the courts.


When asked if adding more cases to the backlog could threaten the due-process rights of noncitizens, Marks said it is the job of immigration judges to make sure that doesn't happen.


"But the pressures on the system certainly do allow more opportunities for errors to be made," she said. "You try to do your best to hear things fairly but also quickly, and there is always a tension between how you strike that balance."



Of course, one way to relieve the court burden is to simply increase deportations without using the court system at all, a strategy that has the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project, and the 1,000s of immigration lawyers that earn a living filing appeal after appeal, up in arms.

Advocates worry the Trump administration will increase the use of procedures that allow authorities to deport people without using the court system at all.


"Instead of actually trying to make the courts better, they just want to use them less, even though that obviously is deeply problematic from a due-process standpoint," said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project.


Mehlman agrees the system is broken, but said advocacy groups and lawyers who keep filing new motions and appeals are part of the problem.


"They understand that time works to their benefit and that the longer you can drag this out, the more bites at the apple you can get, the greater the likelihood that you can find some plausible reason for remaining here in the United States," he said.

Meanwhile, as Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform notes, enforcing longer detention periods for illegal immigrants could also help clear out the case backlog as it would inevitably lead some people to view deportation as an attractive alternative to a lengthy trial.

The increased use of detention could also lead immigrants with valid claims for staying in the U.S. to accept deportation, just to avoid extended periods of time in detention, Jadwat said.


Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which pushes for strict immigration policies, said the greater threat of detention could deter people from coming to the U.S. or encourage some who are here to leave.

While it may cause the ACLU some heartburn, something tells us that the Trump administration will lean toward fewer trials as the preferred method for clearing out the case backlog facing the immigration courts as opposed beefing up bureaucracy...just a guess.

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StackShinyStuff's picture

And let me guess - the 534,000 get to stay here while their cases are pending.

ATPCommish's picture

They should all have someone from origin country or fam here have to pay a retainer. 1k each before they get deported (at least) u have no due process rights to a free lawyer here as non citizens . Maybe it'll help pay for all this burden on our system. 

ReZn8r's picture

Illegals are NOT US Citizens, therefore 'Due Process' does not apply. GTFO NOW!

swmnguy's picture

Under the US Constitution, that's not true.  Everyone in America is entitled to due process in the USA, at least as the Founders wrote the Constitution.  Don't like it?  Re-write the Constitution.

mkkby's picture

Sit them in an uncomfortable barracks or concentration camp until their turn in court.  Send the bill for their room/board to mexico.

Let no illegal in until he proves he has the right.

Sudden Debt's picture

Create 4 transit zones where people can stay according to their personal monetary possibilities. All costs need to be paid by the refugees.

1 star transit, 2 star transit, 3 star transit, 4 star transit zone. 1 star being basis food and housing, 4 stars for people who can afford all care.


Every case needs to be fully documented within 48 hours. Decision in 72 hours.


Anybody who bypasses the zones can't fill in a request for a greencard for the next 20 years.

Anybody with any criminal record whatsoever will be denied entry.

Anybody without a diploma or needed skillwill be denied entry.

Anybody without the proper funds to sustain in their own housing and living needs for at least 6 months will be denied entry.


Anybody who gets a greencard but commits a crime in the first 10 years will be deported within 24hours.

Every immigrant who enters America to have and keep a job for the first 4 years without interuption or he/she will be deported.


Every illegal needs to report in within 72 hours who is still in the country. Anybody who fails to do so will remain an illegal and every American supplying jobs or aid to illegals need to be fined 100.000 dollars per person and will need to pay all legal costs and deportation costs.


Deportation will happen from the same border they came into.


Our societie would restore pretty fast I think.


ACP's picture

Just kick them all the Fuck out. By the time their cases come up they'll be back in Me-heee-co chewing coca leaves while manufacturing cocaine.

Smedley's picture

We need rubber stamps and hire some staff!!


N2OJoe's picture

Easy way to solve this: Send them all back and let them appeal from their home countries.

CheapBastard's picture

If Soweeto Osama had not let them in to begin with we would not have this problem.


Hire 300 more judges and expedite the hearings.

socalbeach's picture

Trump could setup a program whereby liberals would fund indigent immigrants, using some fixed amount to cover the cost of food, housing, medical care, education, etc., until they become self sufficient. You would have to take into account that they would have kids once they get here.  No immigrants without means would be allowed into the country without there being enough $ in the fund to pay their estimated costs.  

I'll bet very few libs would contribute to such a fund.

prime american's picture
prime american (not verified) socalbeach Mar 7, 2017 6:17 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

JRobby's picture

By design 

Criminal and tax courts humming along nicely.

Family, not so much.

debtor of last resort's picture

As the saying goes; start with the damn lawyers.

Buck Johnson's picture

They will either deport them and/or keep them in detention.  Either way it's a win win and Trump needs to get on it.



Zero Point's picture

"Omar Jadwat". Case closed.

gespiri's picture

Case closed.  Show your papers establishing legality.  If not, then get out of the country.  Case closed.

kellys_eye's picture

Internment based on some simple rules:

No positive proof of i.d. = no entry and immediate deportation or permanent incarceration.

Allow anyone who can offer proof of financial support by a current resident to be released into their care and responsibility with ZERO access to benefits of any kind and until their application has been processed.

Anyone with any criminal record whatsoever banned from entry.

Just for starters......

Sudden Debt's picture

That would already lower US crime numbers by half.


They did the talk, now the walk.


If the current system can't handle the cases, the system needs to adapt so it can in a efficient and a humanly possible way.


Courts, judges and lawyers are the easiest proffesions to be automated. The law is the law. Grey zones can be handles by humans but grey zones need to be defined also.

And if the refugees take advantage of the grey zones, the laws need to be adapted also to assure a speedy case handling.

Supplying false information in a case must always lead to a refusal of any case.

Every immigrant can only apply once every 4 years.

redc1c4's picture

open their file, read their name, when they say "here", the judge just syas, "you're outta here... next case!"

lather, rinse repeat all day, every day, until the case count is 0


you're welcome.

hendrik1730's picture

Let the cases accumulate for all names sounding muslim or black. And put an expiry date on the application. Also, stop paying illegal immigrants "for humanitarian reasons" ( they don't get shit in their homeland ). Case closed. They will go away by themselves and even better - they stop coming.

Sudden Debt's picture

America needs speedcourts.

We have those in Europe already. 5 to 10 minutes to plea your case set by certain parameters.


500K cases, 10 minutes each is 5mil minutes, is 83,5 hours and there are 300 judges who could handle those cases in 10 to 15 weeks.


You could also rule in group hearings. There are to many of the same cases, just devide them in categories and you'll be able to speed things up at a incredible speed at a minimum of the costs.


You could also let a computer do the first selection.

That could shorten all the cases by at least 300K.

Imagine the savings to the system.



Megaton Jim's picture

Infect the pricks with Ebola and put the military on the border. The invasion will stop in a few weeks!

Stu Elsample's picture

Pay Americans to patrol...full immunity, full magazines, and a $1k reward for the carcass of any Soros paid protester who tries to interfere.


whatisthat's picture

There is perceived benefit to re-establish mission, purpose and consistency for the Federal immigration court system, and implement new competency requirements for procedures and support personnel (to include judges) to improve results and desired outcomes.....

Xena fobe's picture

It would be more approproate to grant invaders Geneva Convention rights instead of due process rights. But if we have to give them access to a court hearing, contact arbitration attorneys as judges. 


Fuckin tards keep bitchin about due process. Hahaha. They arent citizens! Due process, habeas corpus, miranda rights, the bill of rights, the constitution DOES NOT apply to people who arent us citizens. All illegals that are caught should be deported that day. Period. No courts for ILLEGAL immigration. The courts should be for the hard working, dedicated immigrants which come here LEGALLY!

moorewasthebestbond's picture

In Ancient Rome they simply hung illegals along the side of the road... just for illegally using citizen-funded roads.

goldinpenguin's picture

there is a US hiring freeze, VA facilities are badly understaffed, who gets priority our veterans or a half million illegals?

pparalegal's picture

Remove anchor baby citizenship, enforce welfare fraud and employer sanctions then watch the problem self correct.  

canisdirus's picture

The problem is that it was enshrined as a constitutional amendment after the war of northern aggression. It's also the most litigated part, by a massive margin. It needs to be ripped out, as we are the last nation on earth to grant birthright citizenship. Although it's unlikely that it could be removed due to vocal outcry of those trying to destroy this country.

We need a repeal and we need it to be retroactive. We've shot ourselves in the foot and probably won't recover without a war...

z80kid's picture

"The problem is that it was enshrined as a constitutional amendment"

That's what they teach you in school, but it's a lie. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof..."  The Amendment was meant to solidify citizenship for former slaves. The "subject to the juristiction" part was meant to exclude children of foreigners.

Illegal immigrant proponents like to point to the US vs Ark Supreme court case as supporting "birthright" citizenship. Of course, what they intentionally omit is that the case hinged on the fact that Ark's parents were here LEGALLY. 

What makes them citizens is an act of Congress - not the 14th Amendment. And that act needs to be repealed.

canisdirus's picture

If that's true, what are we waiting for? Everyone always points to the 14th as the reason we have birthright citizenship. I'd still love to see the "born" part ripped clean out, just in case.

esum's picture

mexico needs another revolution.... muy pronto


if i were trump i would relocate these courts to beverly hills or brentwood or malibu or monterey..... let the mfers move around there

especially the ms 13.... 


Smedley's picture

They should hire some illegals to help with the workload!


RovingGrokster's picture

Just this little section deserves to be unpacked:

Advocates worry the Trump administration will increase the use of procedures that allow authorities to deport people without using the court system at all.
"Instead of actually trying to make the courts better, they just want to use them less, even though that obviously is deeply problematic from a due-process standpoint," said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project.

Not use the court system? If they are here illegally, why are we letting them roam the streets "waiting" for a court date?

Less cases? Why yes - courts should be for those who may have violated the terms of their previously legal presence, not for those who have 'broken into' the country.

Due process? The constitution grants that to legal residents, not to illegal invaders.

Omar Jadwat? Where'd he earn an opinion on right and wrong in America?

ACLU - wrong on most things regarding the constitution.

ReZn8r's picture

We should start by deporting Omar Jadwat.

barysenter's picture

The Prez has the authority to do this.

numapepi's picture

Here is another radical idea...

Us AI judges to process the cases.

Maybe AI will ignore if the litigant is Trump.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) numapepi Mar 7, 2017 9:31 AM

Robosigning was good enough for our houses, it should be good enough for illegal alien lawbreakers.

Cthonic's picture

Fine, they can wait it out in their country of origin.

Conax's picture

 Screw it, they have deliberately overloaded the system, send them all home and start fresh.

They are all illegal. If they have no visa, then buh-bye.

Vin's picture

Just halt ALL immigration, period.  Enough already.

Deport, deport deport.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Mar 7, 2017 9:30 AM

Why can't they wait in their own country, Mexico?  It's close by.

oncemore's picture

Non citizens, hence no court is needed.

They must go.

Elco the Constitutionalist's picture
Elco the Constitutionalist (not verified) Mar 7, 2017 11:23 AM

Build the wall.

Then expel the Jews who are leading this open borders treason.

barysenter's picture

No problem. Send them home and they can wait for their cases to be heard. Just like all the lawful applicants for immigration these creeps jumped the queue on.

Sledge-hammer's picture
Sledge-hammer (not verified) Mar 7, 2017 4:57 PM

I like the idea someone had of the illegal alien catapault--just catapault them right over the border.  

King's counselor:  But Sire, what about the poor?

The King:  F*ck the poor!  Pull!

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