"Beginning with the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), legislation and administrative actions have focused on reducing immigration litigation by limiting and streamlining both administrative appeal and judicial review procedures and by rendering aliens in certain categories ineligible for certain types of relief from removal. Despite these efforts, other changes made by the 1996 Acts increased litigation by expanding the scope of the grounds for inadmissibility and deportation and the definition of aggravated felony, which effectively further expanded the grounds for deportation. Increased enforcement efforts coupled with the increasing numbers of illegal aliens present in the country have also increased litigation as more aliens are placed in removal proceedings. In 2002, then-Attorney General Ashcroft implemented procedural reforms in the Board of Immigration Appeals [BIA] intended to eliminate the existing BIA backlog of cases and to provide for current efficient disposition of cases. These changes have resulted in a shift of the backlog and the number of appeals to the federal appellate courts. Changes proposed by H.R. 4437, S. 2454, S.Amdt. 3192, and S. 2611/S. 2612, among other bills, would continue the trend of streamlining procedures and limiting immigration litigation, appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and judicial review."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33410