Deportation Court in the Era of Trump: Why are Court Summons' ("Notice To Appear's"
According to court records, as of September 2017 the number of notices to appear in court have widely decreased since the Trump Administration has taken office. Notices to appear (NTAs) are documents from the Department of Homeland Security that call for the facing removal in adversarial proceedings. NTA holders future of deportation out of the United States will then be determined during a hearing in Immigration Court. The Trump administration claims that their apprehensions have increased since they have taken office, but numbers prove otherwise. The delay of filing of NTA’s had aided to concealing the fall of deportation cases under the Trump administration.
Of the 75,000 cases that have been filed and brought to court after January 20, 2017, many were cases that had been opened under the Obama Administration. Over 70 new immigration judges have been hired this past year but the numbers of actual cases filed have proved these judged may not be needed in court. The recent accumulation of unfiled cases has become extensive and has increased by 113,020 cases by the fiscal year 2017. These records have been obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act.
Figure 1 presents the number of case filings that have advanced to court over 2017, and the NTA’s that were on or after January 20th, 2017. These results show the processes that began over the course of the prior administration.
Figure 2 displays the initial recording dates of cases and the dates that the cases actually went to court. Normally, delays for filing were about 14 days but have increased to about 67 days under the Trump Administration. 10% of cases have increased to delays up to 295 days and 5% percent of cases have increased to delays of 377 days. The number of NTA’s that were brought to court failed to keep up with the number of NTA’s that were being distributed up to December 2016. As of the beginning of 2017, roles reversed and the number of court filings began to surpass the number of NTA’s being allocated.
ICE is currently withholding information pertaining to the number of immigrants that are being detained and brought to court. There is no information explaining the discrepancies between the lower number of NTA’s and deportation rates and the success in the number of apprehensions that the Trump Administration is claiming to have. Under the Obama and Bush Administration, information that correlated with cases and NTA’s have always been submitted to TRAC, but the Trump administration refuses to submit such information. The withholding of data and information disregards Trumps desire for clarity within the immigration reform.