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The Changing Make-Up of Immigration Court Cases Now That Title 42 Has Ended

August 16, 2023 (2 min read)

TRAC, Aug. 16, 2023

"A large influx of new Immigration Court cases was widely expected after the termination on May 11, 2023, of Title 42 -- a public health policy that allowed individuals arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border to be immediately expelled without a hearing. According to the latest case-by-case records released by the Immigration Courts, this influx did not occur.

Before May 11, the number of new Court cases each week had climbed above 40,000. After Title 42 ended, the weekly total dropped to around 25,000. However, this drop was short lived. By the end of July, new cases arriving each week at the Court had climbed back up to almost 39,000—above the level that had prevailed before the sudden peak as immigrants rushed to enter to beat the May 11th end of Title 42. Whether this upward trend in Court filings will level off or continue to climb is not clearly signaled yet by these data.

However, the nationality composition of these immigrants arriving at the Court is undergoing substantial change. Just before Title 42 ended, the largest segment (45%) of immigrants with new Immigration Court cases came from South America. Individuals from Venezuela and Colombia made up three out of every ten South Americans. The other countries with the largest numbers were Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil.

Before Title 42 ended, the next largest segment (22%) were from countries outside of North and South America. Here immigrants from India, Russia, and China were most numerous. These were followed by immigrants from Mauritania, Uzbekistan and Turkey, each with closely similar numbers.

Fewer in number still were immigrants from Central America (13%) and the Caribbean (11%). Mexicans made up just 8.5 percent.

Now many fewer of those being admitted and given court dates are coming from South America, and such far-flung places as Russia and India. While immigrants from South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa had been the fastest growing segments, this now is no longer true. Instead, the Court is seeing increasing numbers of Mexicans as well as immigrants arriving from the three Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

New Biden administration policies put in place – many which single out some nationalities for different treatments – appear to be having a substantial impact on the identity of those who manage to surmount entry barriers and win a coveted Notice to Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court. These immigrants then have a chance for a hearing before an Immigration Judge to determine whether they will be granted asylum or be found to have other grounds to legally remain in the U.S."