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The Department of Justice sent a memo to immigration judges Friday outlining new quotas that will require judges to process 700 cases per year and have less than 15 percent of their rulings sent back by a higher court. The quotas will go into effect October 1, 2018 for FY 2019.

"The purpose of implementing these metrics is to encourage efficient and effective case management while preserving immigration judge discretion and due process," Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review James McHenry wrote.

With a current backlog of nearly 700,000 cases -- about 475,000 more than the almost 225,000 in 2009, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University -- this is the third memo issued in the last eight months calling for a higher standard of efficiency in case processing and serves as an important step in advancing Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ effort to clear the backlog in the immigration courts.

One standard outlined in the memo sets a three-day processing limit for 85 percent of removal cases for illegal aliens who have been detained. Another standard requires that 95 percent of all merits hearings be completed on the hearing date originally scheduled.

Other actions to advance this effort include a memo, sent by Chief Immigration Judge Mary Beth Keller last July, discouraging judges from postponing cases and a memo AG Sessions wrote last December entitled, "Renewing Our Commitment to the Timely and Efficient Adjudication of Immigration Cases to Serve the National Interest."

For more information on this story, see The Wall Street Journal.

Updated: Tue, Apr 17th 2018 @ 2:05pm EDT