PolitiFact: Trump is Way Off on Number of Immigration Judges

President Donald Trump has denounced the way the United States processes immigration cases, calling for thousands more judges to address a backlog on top of the current ranks.

Trump highlighted the role of judges in immigration proceedings in early May after he falsely attributed a “catch and release” immigration practice to Democrats.

“We have thousands of judges. Do you think other countries have judges?” Trump said. “We give them, like, trials. That’s the good news. The bad news is, they never show up for the trial. Okay?”

In a May 24 interview with Brian Kilmeade of Fox News, Trump again said the United States was the only country that had judges, while others had “security people. People that stand there and say you can’t come in.”

“We have thousands of judges, and they need thousands of more judges. The whole system is corrupt. It’s horrible,” Trump said. “So yeah, you need thousands of judges based on this crazy system. Whoever heard of a system where you put people through trials? Where do these judges come from? You know a judge is a very special person. How do you hire thousands of people to be a judge? So it’s ridiculous. We are going to change the system. We have no choice for the good of our country.”

Trump’s conversation with Kilmeade centered on immigration, so we wondered if there are “thousands of judges” clearing immigration cases.

Far from it. Fewer than 400 judges currently have this task.

There also aren’t that many federal judges who hear other matters. (Immigration is regulated at the federal level.) There are slightly over 1,300 Article III federal judges that serve on the Supreme Court, courts of appeals, district courts, and U.S. Court of International Trade. Adding the current number of immigration judges to that count still falls short of “thousands.”

By Miriam Valverde for CONCORD MONITOR
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