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Border Crossings Drop, Judges Still Have 2.1 Million Case Backlog

Before last week's end of the pandemic-era policy known as Title 42, around 10,000 people were crossing the southern border into the U.S. per day. That number had dropped nearly 50% by the weekend. Millions of cases involving asylum seekers are pending. Mimi Tsankov, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, says that although the Biden administration pledges to hire more judges, "it will always be a problem trying to meet 2.1 million cases," NPR reports. "If you do the math on that, even with the ... 700 judges that we have now or so, that's 3500 cases per judge," Tsankov explains. "That's assuming we didn't even get any new cases coming through the door, which, as we know, will not be the case. So it's a problem."

With the U.S. reverting back to rules including expedited removals and a new mandate that migrants must seek asylum in a nation they pass through before applying to enter the U.S., Tsankov says that immigration courts are still lacking the resources required to manage the current caseload. With those backlogs at an all time high of over 2.1 million cases currently pending, it's only going to get worse, Tsankov said. Right now, the judges have about 3500 cases on their individual dockets at the 69 courts around the U.S. The immigration judges are hearing cases day in and day out, usually 3 to 4 trials a day. So with all those cases pending, judges jdon't get as much time as They would like to devote to each case, Tsankov said.


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