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Just the Facts

Immigration Fact Checks provide up-to-date information on the most current issues involving immigration today.

Empty Benches: Underfunding of Immigration Courts Undermines Justice

Among many longstanding problems plaguing the U.S. immigration system is the shortage of immigration judges. Over the past decade, Congress has increased immigration enforcement funding exponentially, yet has not provided the immigration courts commensurate funding to handle the hundreds of thousands of new removal cases they receive each year. The resulting backlog has led to average hearing delays of over a year and a half, with serious adverse consequences. Backlogs and delays benefit neither immigrants nor the government—keeping those with valid claims in limbo and often in detention, delaying removal of those without valid claims, and calling into question the integrity of the immigration justice system.

Dramatic Immigration Enforcement Spending Increases, Without Commensurate Court Resource Increases, Have Placed Extraordinary Burdens on the Courts

Over the last decade, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration enforcement resources have increased dramatically (Figure 1):

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) combined spending increased 105 percent from Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 to FY 2015, from $9.1 billion to approximately $18.7 billion.
  • Moreover, the federal government increasingly leveraged state law-enforcement resources for immigration enforcement through programs like Secure Communities and 287(g).

In contrast, as increased enforcement has contributed to immigration court backlogs, court funding has not kept pace (Figure 1):Read more...

Published On: Thu, May 21, 2015 | Download File

Special Reports

Our most in-depth publication, Special Reports provide detailed analyses of special topics in U.S. immigration policy.

A Guide to the Immigration Accountability Executive Action

On November 20 and 21, 2014, President Obama announced his “immigration accountability executive action,” which includes a series of measures that are first steps towards common-sense reforms to an outdated immigration system. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Mar 13, 2015 | Download File

Perspectives on Immigration

Perspectives offers fresh ideas and alternative viewpoints on immigration policy from writers inside and outside the immigration debate.

The President’s Discretion, Immigration Enforcement, and the Rule of Law

The President has the legal authority to make a significant number of unauthorized migrants eligible for temporary relief from deportation that would be similar to the relief available under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Aug 26, 2014 | Download File