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Prosecutorial Discretion: The Real Numbers

By Allison Posner

On July 23, the Transactional Access Records Clearinghouse (TRAC) released a report showing that, as of June 28, ICE had closed a total of 5,684 cases, or 1.9 percent of the 298,000 cases reviewed thus far. The TRAC report breaks down administrative closure statistics by nationality and by location of the immigration court.

Despite the effort to close cases that are low priority for prosecution, the backlog of immigration cases in the immigration courts continues to grow, according to another TRAC report. By the end of June, the backlog had reached a new record 314,000 cases. According to the report, the vast majority of individuals whose cases are in the backlog are charged with immigration violations; only 7.9 percent are being removed for criminal activity or because of national security issues. The average time a case spends waiting in the backlog is now 526 days.