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Immigration Case Backlogs Reach Record Levels Despite Big Increase in Spending


By: Shirleen Guerra | The Center Square

The cost of processing applications of immigrants by the Department of Homeland Security has increased from $345 million in 2022 to $765 million in 2023 while the number of pending cases continues to increase.

The number of backlog immigration cases reached 3 million for the first time in November 2023, a 50% increase from the previous year. That increase comes despite the Department of Homeland Security doubling the number of full-time positions to address the issue since the first time in November 2023.

The Department of Homeland Security increased the number of full-time employees working on application processing from 1,250 to 2,709. Application Processing offers support in decreasing application processing times, reducing the backlog and expanding humanitarian efforts.

Despite the increase in full-time jobs, the backlog has continued to rise.

A new record was reached in November. The Immigration Court backlog surpassed 3 million active cases. That is over a million cases added in just the past 12 months.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services stated it had hired new staff, expanded overtime hours, and invested in information technology to improve the processing of cases.

The Fiscal Year 2024 President's Budget includes another $264 million and adds 795 more positions to deal with backlogged cases.

Related Story: Denver to Spend $180M on Migrants in 2024, Mayor Calls it ‘Unsustainable’

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