/ Modified jan 5, 2018 1:01 p.m.

Immigration Court Backlog Surging

Judges say system is broken

The backlog of cases in U-S immigration courts continues to grow sharply, which judges say highlights the need for more immigration judges, especially during an administration that's putting a priority on deporting undocumented foreign nationals.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University follows the immigration court system, and says pending immigration cases grew by 5 percent in October and November, the first two months of the federal fiscal year. TRAC reports that 658-thousand cases are pending, up from 630-thousand at the end of September.

In Arizona, courts face more than 10,000 cases, a jump of more than 7 percent over the year before.

The backlog means many undocumented immigrants sit in jail indefinitely, while others, out on bail, still face uncertainty about their future.

Immigration judges say they're overworked and more judges are needed. The administration added fifty new judges last year, but a judges' group says the system needs hundreds more.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the Trump administration is also readying new "performance metrics" for immigration judges. The judges' association objects, saying their duty is to be fair and impartial, not meet a quota for closing cases.

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