By Mariana Alfaro
In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent 25 immigration judges to detention centers near the border and promised to add 125 new judges to the bench in the next two years, all part of the Administration’s plan to “fight against criminal aliens.” This plan was criticized by immigrant communities and advocates as a way to expedite deportations without due process, delaying more than 20,000 cases in immigration courts across the country.
As judges headed to detention facilities on the border, immigration courts across the country continued to struggle with a backlog of cases that, though dating back to the Obama-era, has grown under President Donald Trump’s administration.
According to Politico, in January there were around 540,000 cases caught in the immigration court backlog. By August 2017, the number had grown to 632,261, with nearly 50 percent of these cases in California, New York and Texas — states that account for nearly half of the country’s immigrant population, according to the Pew Research Center. Judges sent to the border told Politico that their dockets were nearly empty in their newly assigned courts, with some likening the temporary uproot to a vacation.