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Immigration Law

The Continuing Impact of The Pandemic on Immigration Court Case Completions (TRAC)

TRAC, Feb. 11, 2022

"As of the end of January 2022, the pace of Immigration Court work continues to lag as a result of the pandemic. There have been not only fewer case completions, but the average time required to dispose of each case has doubled since before the pandemic began.

Immigration Courts recorded 86,297 case completions so far in FY 2022 covering the period October 2021 – January 2022. However, during this same period the court received three times that many new cases—some 260,038 new filings.

This gap between case receipts and case closures reflects at least two broad forces. The largest contributor to the gap has been the unprecedented surge in new case filings. As TRAC delineated in its January 18, 2022 report, the current pace of filings by the Department of Homeland Security exceeds the pace the Court has ever experienced in its entire lifetime.

The slowed pace of case closures as a result of the pandemic, although a smaller contributor, has also added to this gap between the count of Court receipts and Court closure numbers. Before the pandemic led to widespread court closures, immigration case completions were running at around 40,000 per month. They have only climbed back to around 20,000 cases each month, or roughly half the pre-pandemic level.

During the pandemic months of the Trump administration, the average time it took to close a case doubled, rising from an average of about 600 days to around 1200 days. The Biden administration, as the Trump administration before it, also now takes roughly twice the time to close a case from what prevailed just before the pandemic. In January 2022, the average completion time was 1,206 days.

For further details, read the full report at:

https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/677/

To examine a variety of Immigration Court data, including asylum data, the backlog, new filings, and more now updated through January 2022, use TRAC's Immigration Court tools here:

https://trac.syr.edu/imm/tools

If you want to be sure to receive a notification whenever updated data become available, sign up at:

https://tracfed.syr.edu/cgi-bin/tracuser.pl?pub=1

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TRAC is self-supporting and depends on foundation grants, individual contributions and subscription fees for the funding needed to obtain, analyze and publish the data we collect on the activities of the US Federal government. To help support TRAC's ongoing efforts, go to:

https://trac.syr.edu/cgi-bin/sponsor/sponsor.pl"