Featured Issue: Immigration Court Backlog and Reprioritization

The immigration courts require urgent attention to address the 1.3 million case backlog that is severely delaying resolution on all cases—with an average wait time exceeding four years—including cases that require urgent attention, such as those seeking asylum and humanitarian relief. The following resources explain how the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) can reprioritize cases on the docket by removing nonpriority matters. Additional solutions to address the systemic challenges of the immigration court can be found on AILA’s immigration court featured issues page.

Resources

The Hill: Unclogging the Nation's Immigration Court System

February 1, 2021

  • In this op-ed Greg Chen and Peter Markowitz argue that DOJ leadership should reprioritize about 700,000 cases that are unnecessarily clogging the immigration court dockets.

AILA and Cardozo Law School Provide Recommendations for Removing Non-Priority Cases from the Immigration Court Backlog

February 11, 2021

  • AILA's Greg Chen and Cardozo Law School's Peter Markowitz provided recommendations to DOJ and EOIR leadership on how immigration courts can use existing federal regulation and other authorities to presumptively shift cases off the docket by identifying specific categories of non-priority matters.

Peter Markowitz & Mauricio Noroña, Immigration Justice Clinic, Cardozo School of Law: Operational Mechanics for Proposed EOIR Headquarters-Led Docket Review and Refresh

2021

  • Peter Markowitz and Mauricio Norona provide a description of the categories of cases that could be defined as nonpriority matters and a statistical estimate of how many cases are in each category

Senators Urge Attorney General Garland to Make Key Reforms to Immigration Courts

March 23, 2021

  • On March 23, eight senators sent a letter to Attorney General Garland recommending, among other things, that he review the court docket and systematically remove non-priority cases unless deferral would prejudice the parties.

Eighty-Two Law Professors Call on AG Garland to use DOJ’s Authority to Remove Non-Priority Cases from the Immigration Courts’ Active Docket

April 30, 2021

  • Letter signed by 82 law professors sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland explaining the legal authorities the immigration courts and DOJ could employ to reprioritize the immigration court docket.

AILA and Partners Send Letter to AG Garland Urging Reform of America's Immigration Enforcement and Judicial Systems

March 16, 2021

  • AILA and coalition partners sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting action on various priorities, including the reprioritization of 700,000 cases in the immigration court backlog.

AILA and Partners Send Letter to President Biden on DOJ Reform of Immigration Courts and Enforcement Priorities

February 1, 2021

  • On February 1, 2021, AILA, along with 164 immigration, civil rights, and human rights organizations, sent a letter to President Biden urging reforms to ensure that the Department of Justice (DOJ) establishes fairness and integrity in the immigration courts and the immigration enforcement system.

Public Defenders Coalition for Immigrant Justice Urge DHS to Remove Thousands of Cases from the Immigration Court Docket

April 14, 2021

  • The Public Defenders Coalition for Immigrant Justice sent a letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas and ICE Director Johnson to take steps to remove thousands of cases from the immigration court docket.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 21050334.