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Catholic University Law Review




The federal government has expressed fear that immigrants abuse the appellate process to delay their deportations by filing meritless petitions for review with the federal courts. Some courts have responded to these concerns by imposing stricter standards for issuing stays of removal, so that the government can more easily deport petitioners even while their appeals remain pending. The risk with this approach is that immigrants who ultimately prevail may be erroneously deported. What is often overlooked is that the potential for abuse is really a function of time, with longer appeals posing a greater threat to immigration enforcement. This study presents new empirical evidence showing that most circuit courts actually decide immigration appeals faster than previously assumed. Moreover, in many circuits the appeals most likely to be frivolous are resolved especially quickly. These results undermine the concerns that lead the government to oppose stays of removal and illustrate the importance of efficient case management systems to the administration of justice.

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Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law

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