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Immigration Court 2010 Statistics

March 20, 2011

2010 Department of Justice Report: Deportation, Removal, And Immigration Appeals

As a San Diego immigration lawyer, I cringe when I see immigrants without attorneys at immigration court hearings.

Even if you have a “good case,” the difficulty of winning at immigration court should not underestimated.

A new report, released by the U.S. Department of Justice this week, provided support for my views.

NEW DEPORATION AND REMOVAL CASES IN 2010

According to the DOJ Report, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) received 325,326 new immigration cases during 2010.

At present, there are 58 immigration courts and 270 judges.  This means there are too many cases for too few judges.

As noted Deportation And Removal Defense: How To Understand Hardship, the standard for earning relief against deportation is set abnormally high.  When the overload facing judges is added to the mix, the need to revamp the immigration court system becomes critical for immigrants and their families.

New Deportation And Removal Cases By Year

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
308,652
279,430
292,013
327,928
325,326

In addition to deportation and removal cases, immigration judges conduct hearings involving bond determinations, motions to reopen, motions to reconsider, and other special motions.

When these short term matters are added to their workload, the number of cases which  judges have to handle each year increases substantially. For 2010, the combined total was 392,888.

New Deportation And Removal Cases By Court Location

Overall, as an immigration deportation attorney, I’m not surprised by this list of busiest immigration courts.

However, based on my travels to various immigration courts, I thought Los Angeles and El Paso ranked higher.

  • New York, New York
  • Los Angeles, California
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • San Francisco, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Harlingen, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • El Paso, Texas
21,757
19,144
15,586
13,860
13,478
11,750
11,082
9.146
8,872
8,145

This list pertains only to immigration courts that primarily handle non-detained cases.  Immigration courts housed at detention facilities or processing centers are not included.

IMMIGRATION COURT DECISIONS IN 2010

The first category shows which nationalities were involved in the largest amount of “final” immigration court decisions during 2010.

Deportation And Removal Decisions By Country Of Birth

In 2010, 67% of the cases completed by the EOIR involved immigrants from just five countries, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and China.

The top ten countries were:

  • 1. Mexico
  • 2. Guatemala
  • 3. El Salvador
  • 4. Honduras
  • 5. China
  • 6. Haiti
  • 7. Dominican Republic
  • 8. Colombia
  • 9. Cuba
  • 10. Jamaica

This chart illustrates a key factor for future government policy.  It also shows why an enforcement-only approach will not succeed.

The largest percentage of immigrants facing deportation are natives of countries closest to our borders.

Former president George W. Bush recognized the solution.  If reducing the flow of undocumented immigrants is the goal, the solution is to work closely with our neighbors in the south.  It’s too bad he never acted on his insight.

We are, in short, an economic magnet to poor immigrants living in Latin American countries.  By helping Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and other nations improve their economies, we would likely reduce the migration of their citizens to the United States.

Deportation And Removal Decisions By Court Location

Again, these figures do not include immigration courts at detention facilities or processing centers.

  • Los Angeles, California
  • New York, New York
  • Miami, Florida
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • San Francisco, California
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Harlingen, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • El Paso, Texas
18,721
16,000
13,225
12,721
9,365
8,913
8,768
8,057
7,326
6,770

Deportation And Removal Decisions By Representation

As noted above, far too many immigrants facing deportation or removal do not hire an attorney.

Here’s the proof.

  • Represented (43%)
  • Not Represented (57%)
122,465
164,742

Deportation And Removal Decisions By Outcome

This statistic shows how difficult it is to win your immigration court case.

  • Terminated/Other
  • Favorable Decision
  • Removal/Deportation Order
11.5
13.8
74.7

2010 BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS DECISIONS

The majority of cases reviewed by the BIA involve decisions made by immigration judges.  Most immigration appeals pertain to deportation or removal cases.

At the present time, the Board has a backlog of 30, 112 cases.  In 2010, 17, 578 new appeals were filed at the BIA.

New BIA Appeals By Percentage Of Immigration Court Decisions

Even though the amount of immigration court decisions has fluctuated from year-to-year, the percentage of appeals filed by immigrants has remained fairly constant over the past five years.

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
9%
10%
9%
8%
8%

These figures show that over 90% of decisions of immigration judges are never challenged – even though, as noted above, over 75% of removal cases end with a order of deportation.

By , Immigration Law, Policy, And Politics

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