Immigration Court Backlogs Grow
Immigration courts are too slow to keep up with the high number of undocumented immigrants detected by enforcement agencies, despite a number of new judge hirings, according to a report released Tuesday by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
The result is large backlogs in immigration courts, keeping undocumented immigrants in removal proceedings in limbo and delaying justice for refugees and others who are eventually allowed to stay.
There's a high cost to delaying court dates, particularly if immigrants are kept in detention centers while awaiting trial. The average wait time was 482 days as of May, according to the report, at an average cost of $122 per day of detaining each individual.
In the 2011 fiscal year, the government spent $1.9 billion on immigrant detention centers.