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The Pandemic continues to raise havoc with US Immigration Courts

TIME TO COMPLETION DELAYS: Immigration Court Delays Continue in Unprecedented Time to Complete cases. At the end of January 2022, the pace of Immigration Court (EOIR) 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.

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.

INCREASE CASE FILING DELAYS: Immigration Court Delays Continue in Unprecedented Time of Case Filing. In the first quarter of the Fiscal year 2022, nationwide Immigration Courts recorded 86,297 case completions so far covering the period October 2021 – January 2022. Immigration FY runs from October 1-September 30. However, during this same period the court received three (3) times that many new cases—some 260,038 new filings.

This gap between case receipts and case closures reflects at least two broad colliding forces. The slowed pace of case closures as a result of the pandemic, has 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. The other contributor to the gap has been the unprecedented surge in new case filings. Clearly, the current pace of filings by the Department of Homeland Security exceeds the pace the Court has ever experienced in its entire lifetime. And there is no end in sight, continued closures, short staffs and more filings….when will it end……

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