McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — More than half of the deportation cases that have been closed so far in the Fiscal Year 2021 have resulted in the migrants being allowed to remain in the United States, new data shows.
Of 68,962 deportation cases processed this fiscal year, 33,687, or 58%, have resulted in the migrants being allowed to stay, while 24,684 were ordered deported, according to newly released data from the nonprofit organization Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.
Most of the stays were issued in California with 6,084, followed by Texas with 5,582. Most of the deportations also resulted from proceedings in Texas and California, with the immigration court in Dallas leading the way (1,083), followed by San Francisco (835), the data found.
Austin Kocher, lead researcher for TRAC cautions that due to the coronavirus pandemic and closure of many courts, it is too early to speculate on why there is a current higher rate of migrants allowed to remain in the United States, so far this fiscal year. The fiscal year is halfway over, and began on Oct. 1.
“As far as causality, it’s very hard to say because the main factors that drives these outcomes is not just national policy, but also the composition (nationality) of migrants whose cases are being completed,” Kocher told Border Report on Wednesday.
Still, this is the lowest rate of cases ordered deported since 1988, Kocher said.
This preliminary data also supports the perception that the Biden administration is working to find more ways to allow undocumented migrants to remain in the United States than the Trump administration, or even the Obama administration did.
President Barack Obama was widely referred to as the “Deporter in Chief,” and in fiscal 2009, there were 184,225 cases ordered deported. But that figure is still far below the 215,735 ordered deported under Donald Trump in fiscal 2019.
There are a total of 160,000 deportation cases that have been pending for over six years. And these are part of the 1.3 million backlogged immigration cases nationwide.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many immigration courts have not resumed at full capacity or speed, and Kocher said the latter half of this fiscal year could show very different case results.
“We still have an awful lot of cases that have not been decided in a while, and there is limited (court) capacity, so it’s difficult to say what’s driving this,” Kocher said.
The new data, released last week, also found that 74,065 new deportation cases have been filed. The immigration courts with the most deportation cases filed are New York City (4,099), Miami (3,933), and Harlingen, Texas (3,756)