Immigration court backlog tops 3 million pending cases, data shows

Mayra Moreno Image
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Immigration court backlog tops 3,000,000, data shows
Immigration attorneys and advocates say Texas needs more judges at the border to help those seeking asylum as the court backlog tops 3,000,000 cases.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There has been a lot of focus on the immigration situation these last few days since the signing of Senate Bill 4. In fact, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, is highlighting the astonishing number of immigration court cases that have been backlogged for many years now.

One of the organization's graphs shows the quarterly growth in immigration court backlog. A new record was reached in November. The backlog you can see has topped 3 million. TRAC noted that each judge has been assigned 4,500 cases, and still, it is not enough to make a dent.

During the last quarter, from July to September 2023, the backlog jumped by nearly 400,000 cases, at an average increase of 130,000 cases per month.

TRAC mentions that if every person with a pending immigration case were to gather, it would be larger than the population of Chicago, which is the third-largest city in the U.S.

RELATED: What if the fight over SB4 goes to the Supreme Court?

ABC13's Mayra Moreno spoke to an immigration attorney who shared her insight, saying there is no easy fix, and sadly, some are not getting their cases heard until two to three years from now.

"It's not just the courts. It's accumulative of things what we are seeing," Kim Bruno, an immigration attorney, said. "We are so pushing for immigration reform."

Meanwhile, Dr. Sergio Lira, with the greater Houston League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), agrees that Texas desperately needs immigration reform and more judges at the border to weed out those who are seeking asylum.

"I anticipate it will get worse because we have an important election coming up, and the migrants are going to be used as piñatas for political purposes to drum up the base on both sides, and unfortunately, that is very sad," Lira said.

You can read TRAC's full report on this and take a closer look at the backlog numbers under this report.

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