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Immigration Appeals Board Grows To Help Tackle Pending Caseload

Federal officials have increased the size of the board that reviews decisions made by immigration judges to help deal with the unprecedented number of roughly 667,000 pending cases.

The national backlog includes about 10,000 in Arizona, data show.

The national backlog of immigration cases increased by about 30 percent between the fall of 2016 and Jan. 1, data show.

Officials hired dozens of immigration judges in 2017 to help reduce the backlog. Now they have increased the number of people on the board reviewing their decisions from 17 to 21.

The number of immigration appeals grew by 16 percent in one year, data show.

The increase could become overwhelming, if the board’s size had stayed the same, according to federal documents.

The Board of Immigration Appeals is the country’s highest administrative tribunal on immigration law. It can only be overruled by the U.S. Attorney General and federal appeals courts.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.