Immigration courts have all-time high 445,000 pending cases

The backlog at federal immigration courts has reached an all-time high with more than 445,000 pending cases:

The Los Angeles Times, citing the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, reports that as of April, the backlog hit 445,706, which is a nearly 30 percent increase since Oct. 1, 2013.

Immigration courts have been overwhelmed since the influx of more than 68,500 unaccompanied children and about as many family units crossing the southern border, most of them from Central America.

During the surge, unaccompanied children’s cases were expedited in courts in Los Angeles and other large cities.

Despite the surge, the unaccompanied children’s cases only make up 16 percent of the total as of April. The juvenile case backlog is still 68 percent larger than it was last June, when the backlog reached 41,641 juvenile cases, the Times reports.

The backlogged cases for Central Americans have skyrocketed. Guatemalans’ cases are up 63 percent, 92 percent for Salvadorians and 143 percent for Hondurans.

The report found that California, Texas and New York led the nation with the largest immigration backlogs, followed by Florida and New Jersey.

Reportedly more than 233 judges across the country are heading immigration cases, and 68 more are going to be hired. Additionally, Miami judges have been using videoconferencing to hear Texas cases.

Denise Gilman, who directs an immigration clinic at the University of Texas law school in Austin, said “there is no ability of the court to keep up. We really are in a vicious cycle.”