Data shows rise of pending immigration cases across the U.S., Virginia one of the largest
The United States of America is facing more and more immigration cases from year to year. Around 1,300,000 immigration cases are pending across the U.S, according to the latest data from TRAC Immigration.
Virginia takes the 6th place with more than 58,000 immigration cases on the waiting list and is one of the largest in the nation.
Poarch Thompson Law Managing Attorney Rachel Thompson says she’s not surprised with the numbers since in Roanoke only, there are more than 800 on the backlog.
When she started working, the number of immigration cases was half of this. The majority of the immigration cases she is working on are set for 2025, because of the pileup.
“Can you imagine someone who has come here and fled extreme violence in their country and is going through trauma and PTSD? And now they are at a point where they are seeking refuge, and they have to be put on the stand five years later at a minimum. Usually, it’s more than that,” Thompson said.
Judges’ dockets are overpacked due to the unsolved cases from the Obama administration, Trump administration and the Covid-19 pandemic.
In order to speed up deportations and reduce the clogged court system of immigration cases, a quota mandate was issued by the Trump administration in 2018. According to the mandate, at least 700 immigration cases needed to be complete annually, so judges could earn a satisfactory performance job rating.
But the quota mandate caused more problems rather than resolving them.
“That caused a frenzy to try to get cases through the door and it actually backfired. Cases can’t be handled like that because the judicial system under the Department of Justice is not equipped. It’s inefficient,” Thompson said.
As a result, Thompson is proposing creation of a separate judicial system that would handle immigration cases. The proposal is to establish a federal district court under Article I, which is the same power that was utilized to handle bankruptcy and tax court systems.
“There’s been a huge push for that in Congress. But until that happens we are only going to see that backlog get larger,” said Thompson.