Immigration Court judges have thrown out over 63,000 deportation cases as of the end of September because Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials aren’t filing the required paperwork on time, according to new data.
A data research organization at Syracuse University that tracks immigration court dockets reported on Oct. 17 that one out of every six cases has been thrown out this past fiscal year mostly because of a failure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to file the Notice to Appear (NTA) documentation on time with the courts.
Without the filed NTA, illegal immigrants are having their cases thrown out before they step foot in a courtroom.
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) said the failure was rare until CBP agents were given authority to use the Immigration Court’s Interactive Scheduling System (ISS).
Agents use the ISS system to directly schedule the first hearing after an illegal alien is apprehended. TRAC said in a previous report that the NTA is “supposedly” created at the same time. The NTA contains the date, time, and location of the first hearing and is typically given to the illegal immigrant while they’re in the custody of CBP.
CBP is required to ensure the court is provided with an electronic copy of the NTA given to the illegal alien, according to TRAC. If the court doesn’t have the NTA, it doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case and must dismiss it.
Failure Rare 10 Years, Exponentially Growing Now
The failure to properly manage the process “suggests there is a serious disconnect between the CBP agents entering new cases and scheduling hearings through the Court’s ISS system, and other CBP personnel responsible for submitting a copy to the Court,” the report states.
The dismissals represent a “sizable number” of immigration court cases. According to TRAC, there were around 5,200 cases dismissed in September, which represented 13 percent of all cases filed that month. This is “roughly the same as the monthly average this year,” the report states.
The research organization said that the failure to file NTA documents with the courts was rare 10 years ago. According to figures, the number of dismissed cases began to rise exponentially after 2018, when it went from 0.3 percent to 16.6 percent in 2022.
Between 2012 and 2013, fewer than 400 cases were dismissed. Between 2015 and 2017, fewer than 100 cases were dismissed. Then in 2018, over 500 cases were dismissed, jumping to over 4,600 in 2019 and over 5,900 in 2020.
In 2021, more than 15,200 deportation cases were dismissed, followed by more than 47,000 this year.
TRAC obtained the data through a series of Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests.
The Epoch Times asked CBP and its parent agency, DHS, for comment.