Obama Years Saw Alien Removal Backlog Skyrocket

Press Releases

April 26, 2018

IRLI submits brief to AG Sessions on reforms for enforcement bottleneck

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the out-of-control growth in backlogged proceedings to remove aliens from the United States.

The IRLI brief details an appalling record of public agency failure. In the years of 2008-2018, a time which was almost completely occupied by the Obama administration, the pending removal backlog grew by a shocking 268 percent, to 684,583 aliens whom the government is attempting to remove but who have not received a “final removal order.” Equally disturbing, the average number of days required to process a single alien’s case rose during the same period from 430 to 711, a 65 percent increase.

Acting to implement President Trump’s promises to restore our degraded immigration enforcement programs, Attorney General Sessions has commendably sought to remediate this extraordinary increase in removal proceeding backlogs. Among the recommendations in its brief, IRLI suggests to AG Sessions practical but constitutionally sound reforms that would include the replacement of traditional motions for continuance with form-based requests that will require the alien to demonstrate prima facie eligibility for collateral relief.

IRLI also recommends that the continuance regulations should be amended to allow immigration judges to deny second and multiple continuances, by including findings that the denied continuance would have pushed a judge’s caseload performance evaluation into an unsatisfactory status.

“The backlog of removal proceedings is a glaring example of how our immigration system is riddled with loopholes and inadequacies that are routinely exploited by illegal aliens to remain in the country,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Attorney General Sessions has shown determination to address these problems. Implementing the recommendations in our brief would be a great step forward.”

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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