Immigration Courts Dismiss “Historical Record” Cases, On Track to Triple Last Year’s Closures
The record-breaking number—more than 2 million and counting—of illegal immigrants that have entered the U.S. through Mexico this year has inevitably received considerable media attention lately, but there is another alarming figure that deserves coverage. Federal immigration courts have closed a “historical record” 375,000 cases in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2022, which ends in September, thanks to Biden administration policies largely dictated by leftist open border groups. The nation’s immigration court system is on pace to triple last year’s case closures, according to a report published this month by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which documents the unparalleled accelerated rate in which immigration cases are being dismissed.
In fact, under Biden the number of illegal immigrants granted asylum, removal waivers and other types of deportation relief has increased significantly, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) figures obtained by TRAC, a nonpartisan data research center dedicated to studying the inner workings of the federal government. The administration’s lax policies have already resulted in a 50% increase in dismissed immigration cases this year over the previous high in 2019 under President Donald Trump, TRAC found. The New York university research center predicts that at this rate an additional hundreds of thousands of cases will be closed by the end of the fiscal year. “The pace of closures has also been accelerating month-by-month since October of 2021,” TRAC researchers write. “During the past four months, monthly closures blew past 40,000 and topped 50,000 during May and June. If average closures during these past four months of 48,721 continue, this would represent an annualized rate approaching 600,000.”
The biggest growth in immigration case closures occurred in three key areas, according to TRAC: the much higher numbers of cases that are terminated, the higher number of cases in which the government never filed a Notice to Appear (NTA) for the illegal immigrant and the Biden administration’s implementation of prosecutorial discretion to shut down cases that are not a priority for deportation. An NTA alleges that DHS has reason to deport an individual and asks an immigration judge to issue a removal order, but there has been a big jump in cases immediately dismissed because DHS failed to file the required paperwork, the government figures show. “The number of cases closed by termination where the underlying charges against the immigrant are not upheld grew 86 percent between FY 2017 and FY 2022,” TRAC writes. “Many of these cases were quite old, indeed some stretching back to the earliest still pending cases going back to 1996. These appear to represent cases where the circumstances have changed so that the basis for a removal are no longer present if they even once existed. Terminating these cases helped to clear out the Court’s backlog.”
Earlier this year TRAC reported a “dramatic increase”(one out of every six) in new cases DHS initiates in immigration court being dismissed because Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are not filing NTAs with the court. Researchers call it a worrying component in the increase in court dispositions but point out that much more is going on that is contributing to the rapid rise in immigration case completions. For instance, TRAC reveals that dismissals jumped in June 2021 following an Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) directive allowing cases to be dismissed based on prosecutorial discretion. The order says Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys will determine which cases are enforcement priorities and which are not by exercising discretion based on individual circumstances.
While a record number of immigration cases get dismissed in federal court, the nation keeps getting crushed with a staggering flow of migrants, more than 2 million with the fiscal year not even over yet. In May, Border Patrol agents shattered a monthly record with nearly 240,000 encounters along the Mexican border. Nevertheless, Vice President Kamala Harris, the Biden administration’s border czar, recently insisted in a national news broadcast that the border is secure.