The Bush administration increased the number of cases by hiring new immigration agents and increasing raids in factories and certain communities. This brought the case count up to over 350,000, a record number.
An immigration judge generally shares a law clerk with up to three other judges, as opposed to federal district judges, who each are assigned more than one clerk.
There are under 250 immigration judges. This number has barely changed despite a call by Former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to hire 40 new judges.
Immigration judges are overworked, each handling an estimated 69 hearings a week. Even so, over 180,000 cases were still pending at the end of 2008, another record number.
The backlog of the nation's immigration costs have left thousands of immigrants questioning their removability from the United States, with some delays lasting up to 5 years.