COVID-19 Puts More than 1 Million Immigration Cases on Hold

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Eddie Landry

Immigration Art via Flickr

The nation’s immigration processing system has slowed to a crawl as a result of COVID-19, with hundreds of thousands of cases delayed “for months and often years to come,” according to figures obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

The number of cases immigration court cases completed monthly plummeted to “historic lows” between April and July, TRAC said.

In December, 2019 and January, 2020 total monthly “completions” reported by hearing sites around the country hovered at around 40,000.  But the number dropped by nearly half—to 26, 699—in February, just as the outbreak was beginning to affect court operations,.

Between March and July, the numbers began to drop “precipitously,” said TRAC.

By July 1, hearing sites reported just 5,960 cases had been settled.

TRAC said the key factor appeared to be the “partial shutdown of the Immigration Court in the wake of COVID-19.”

“For the court’s current active backlog of 1,233,307 immigrants waiting for their cases to be heard, canceled hearings due to COVID-19 are increasing hearing delays for months and often years to come,” TRAC said.

According to the TRAC figures the highest number of case completions in July was recorded by the Miami,  FL.,court, with 216.

The full report, and a list of the case completions broken down by hearing site, can be downloaded here.

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