Immigration Judges Have Thrown Out 200,000 Deportation Cases Because Biden Admin Didn’t File Paperwork

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Immigration judges have dismissed roughly 200,000 deportation cases because the Biden administration didn’t file the relevant paperwork, according to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) released on Wednesday.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is obligated to provide a Notice to Appear (NTA) to immigration courts when the agency believes an illegal migrant should be removed, according to the TRAC report. Biden’s DHS failed to issue NTAs in several instances by the time of a scheduled hearing in immigration court, limiting judges’ ability to hear the case and forcing a dismissal.

TRAC is a data collection and distribution network at Syracuse University, providing “comprehensive information about staffing, spending, and enforcement activities of the federal government,” according to the organization’s website.

“Troubling is the almost total lack of transparency on where and why these DHS failures occurred,” the report reads. “Equally troubling is the lack of solid information on what happened to these many immigrants when DHS never rectified its failure by reissuing and filing new NTAs to restart their Court cases.”

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Prior to the Biden administration, it was relatively rare for an immigration court to dismiss a deportation case because DHS didn’t file an NTA, according to the report. Less than 4% of cases were thrown out because of a missing NTA from 2014 to 2020; the number spiked to almost 12% of cases in 2022.

Certain cities in Texas and Florida had the largest percentage of cases thrown out under Biden, at a roughly 50% dismissal rate, according to the report. Cities in New Jersey, Washington and California had lower-than-average rates at below 4%.

When a deportation case is thrown out because of a failure to file an NTA, DHS is often forced to file a new NTA and restart from scratch, the report states. Only about a quarter of the 200,000 deportation cases initially dismissed under Biden had them restarted within a year by DHS’ new issue of a NTA, leaving the majority of other cases unresolved.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in January touted that the Biden administration has deported a “record” number of migrants from the U.S., having expelled more than “470,000” since Title 42 ended in May of 2023. But Mayorkas failed to mention that the number of deportations is still far lower than the total number of illegal migrants entering the country; Customs and Border Protection recorded over 6.5 million migrant apprehensions from fiscal years 2021 to 2024.

Mayorkas and the Biden administration have been criticized for border policies that have allowed a surge of illegal immigration immigration. Biden claims he is unable to enforce border security without the approval of Congress, but in private has been weighing executive options to do so anyway.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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