May 23, 2019 – The hiring pace for new judges continues to be insufficient to keep up with the Immigration Court’s workload. As a result, the court’s backlog continues to climb – up 65 percent since President Trump assumed office. A total of only 424 judges face a backlog of 892,517 cases on the courts’ active dockets as of the end of April 2019, not counting the hundreds of thousands of pending cases that have not yet been re-calendared.

The three largest immigration courts were so under-resourced that hearing dates were being scheduled as far out as August 2023 in New York City, October 2022 in Los Angeles, and April 2022 in San Francisco.

In the 25 courts that account for 92 percent of the immigration court’s current backlog, the typical (median) judge caseload is just under three thousand cases. Twenty percent of these judges have caseloads of four thousand or more cases. One judge in the Houston Immigration Court is currently assigned 9,048 cases!

Next to the Houston court, the highest judge caseload was found in the Arlington Immigration Court (7,203 cases), followed by the Dallas Immigration Court (7,067 cases). The Newark Immigration Court (6,927 cases) and Baltimore Immigration Court (6,842 cases) were not far behind. Note that none of these figures includes additional cases that judges may have been assigned outside their home court. Outside assignments occur when judges are temporarily detailed to another court, or are assigned cases outside their home court that are handled via video-conferencing.

At the other end of the continuum, the Miami, Phoenix, and Denver Immigration Courts have somewhat lower but still extremely heavy per judge workloads. In these courts the highest workload assigned a judge ranged between 2,509 and 2,672 cases. Findings are based upon the latest court records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

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In addition, a number of TRAC’s free query tools – which track the court’s overall backlog, new DHS filings, court dispositions and much more – have now been updated through April 2019. For an index to the full list of TRAC’s immigration tools and their latest update go to:

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