As an immigration hub, Florida receives people from all over the world, especially South America and the Caribbean. In recent years, the federal government’s immigration courts have fallen far behind in processing cases, but the system is finally making progress on the backlog. In fact, the system has completed a record number of cases during the first 11 months of fiscal year 2022.
50% improvement compared to 2019
Immigration judges have managed to increase the number of case completions by a record-breaking 50% since 2019. At the rate that the courts have been processing the cases this fiscal year, the system should close 400,000 or more cases by the time the fiscal year concludes for the government.
Factors accelerating case processing
Professionals who work with people on immigration issues have had to contend with long wait times before getting in front of judges. As of fiscal year 2022, the government started with 26% more immigration judges than were on the job in 2019.
Although more judges has have helped the situation, the staff increase alone does not account for the acceleration. The case backlog has eased because judges have terminated more cases than ever before. Many times, cases are closed because the government never filed a Notice to Appear. Without that document, a judge may dismiss the case for removal. Immigration courts have also regained the ability to apply prosecutorial discretion. This allows the courts to close cases that do not appear worthy of deportation.
Deportations are up
Despite positive outcomes for many, processing the backlog has resulted in more deportation orders this year. This is mostly due to the sheer number of cases being processed.