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Report: Many migrant asylum seekers did not have lawyers once registered with the “Rocket Docket” |  KTA


McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A new report evaluating a fast-track immigration program launched last year by the Biden administration for asylum seekers finds many are not getting legal advice.

The Dedicated Dock program was launched in May as a way to reduce the 1.6 million cases backlogged in immigration courts, but a new study by the University of Syracuse reveals it is not delivering on promises made by the Biden administration. to protect asylum seekers.

The TRAC report reveals that more than 72,000 asylum seekers have been placed in the program, which is also dubbed the “Rocket Docket”. Indeed, its objective is to ensure that cases are tried within 300 days of their initial hearing.

Over 72,000 asylum seekers have been placed in the Dedicated Docket program since May 2021. (TRAC Graphic)

Monthly case placements ranged from 12,000 to 16,000 in August, when a record number of migrants were placed in the Dedicated Docket program, TRAC found. Placements in the program fell slightly in December to 10,000, according to the report.

Overall, one in five asylum seekers have been placed in the Dedicated Docket program since May, according to TRAC analysis.

Earlier this week, TRAC researcher Austin Kocher told Border Report that 15% of migrants on the dedicated file had no legal counsel, putting them at a disadvantage in obtaining asylum.

The TRAC report released Thursday linked this to the rush of cases.

“When cases are rushed, asylum seekers may not have time to get a lawyer and prepare documents that would allow the court to make an informed decision, and judges may be forced to take rushed decisions,” the report said.

Report: Many migrant asylum seekers did not have lawyers once registered with the “Rocket Docket” |  KTA
(TRAC Chart)

Data for the TRAC report was obtained through Freedom of Information requests to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees US immigration court cases. The report investigated the cases through December and also found:

  • In the seven months since the start of the program, 12% of all cases have been treated, or 11,225 cases.
  • Half of all migrants placed in the dedicated register come from these three countries: Brazil, Ecuador and Honduras.
  • Less than 5% of asylum seekers filed an asylum application with the court.
  • A total of 1,557, or 2%, of all migrants placed in the dedicated register received deportation orders. Only 75 of them had lawyers.
  • In June, only 45% of cases had a lawyer on file, “and the proportion of representation drops rapidly over the following months”.
Report: Many migrant asylum seekers did not have lawyers once registered with the “Rocket Docket” |  KTA

“The Biden administration asserted that the dedicated dossier’s time-limited completion goals would nonetheless allow ‘time for families to seek representation if needed.’ In addition to allowing sufficient time to find a lawyer, there must also be a sufficient number of immigration lawyers,” the report states.

The American Bar Association announced this week that it has launched a nationwide campaign to solicit pro bono attorneys to help migrants placed on the Dedicated Docket in the 11 cities where the program operates. Cities include Boston, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.

When the Dedicated Docket program was announced in May, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “Families arriving at the border who are being processed for immigration should have their cases resolved in a orderly, efficient and fair. Newly arrived families need not languish in a backlog of years; Today’s announcement is an important milestone for border justice and security.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at ssanchez@borderreport.com.


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