Immigration issues the candidates haven’t addressed
Nolan Rappaport, opinion contributor

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According to the PEW Research Center, 52 percent of the voters think that immigration is very important, but the presidential debates only included a few immigration questions.

And they didn’t address the issues that concern me, such as —

There are too many asylum cases

The immigration court rendered decisions on 91,391 asylum applications in fiscal 2019, which was 33 percent of the 276,821 decisions it issued that year — the second highestcase completion total in its history.

If Joe Biden is elected, there will be more asylum cases. He has promised to end Trump’s policies that restrict access to asylum in the United States.

In a perfect world, asylum hearings would be available to everyone who wants one, but it isn’t a perfect world, and the immigration court is experiencing a crippling backlog crisis.

As of the end of September 2020, the immigration court had a backlog of 1,262,765 cases. The average wait for a hearing was 811 days.

Efforts to reduce the backlog by hiring more judges have failed, and restricting access to the immigration court would not work either. Even if there were no new cases, it would take more than four years to clear the backlog.

If this crisis continues unabated, really Draconian measures are going to be necessary.

It has been more than 30 years since the last legalization program


Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1 or at