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Will more immigration judges in LA ease a growing backlog of cases?

FILE: Officers from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service stand guard as people demonstrate outside a federal immigration court in Los Angeles on Monday, March 6, 2017, protesting the arrest of an immigrant who has been ordered deported.
FILE: Officers from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service stand guard as people demonstrate outside a federal immigration court in Los Angeles on Monday, March 6, 2017, protesting the arrest of an immigrant who has been ordered deported.
Michael Balsamo/AP

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Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions welcomed 44 new judges to the nation's immigration courts.

They have their work cut out for them: currently, about 350 judges nationwide handle nearly 750,000 pending cases.

Los Angeles has the nation's second-largest immigration court backlog, with more than 72,000 pending cases. That is second only to New York.
 
Four new immigration judges started in Los Angeles last month and 10 more are expected in the coming weeks, according to president of the national judges’ union. But with a growing number of cases, fueled in part by changing immigration policies, is hiring more judges enough? 

Los Angeles-based Judge Ashley Tabaddor heads the National Association of Immigration Judges.

She said while having more resources helps, “... the way things have been handled, especially more recently, it's not going to solve the problem.”

Tabaddor said recent policies, like reopening closed immigration cases, have only fueled the backlog. It’s all part of the Trump administration’s effort to deport more immigrants living in the country illegally.

In Los Angeles, there’s this additional wrinkle: Tabaddor said there aren’t enough courtrooms for all of the new hires, so they may not start right away.