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Surge in COVID-19 Cases Creates Historic Backlog in US Immigration Courts

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With the rise in COVID-19 infections due to the Omicron variant, the US Immigration Courts have hit a historic backlog not seen in decades. There are over 1.6 million pending cases. With this backlog, wait times for an asylum hearing are averaging 58 months or just under 5 years.

 

Several Immigration Judges are on leave due to COVID-19 and other are retiring. Even with the hiring of new Immigration Judges, the number of backlog cases continues to rise. At the current pace, the Court will receive 800,000 new cases this year, which is 300,000 more cases than the Court has ever received. Millions of asylum seekers are left in limbo awaiting trials that are two to three years in the future.

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