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Biden Administrations Dedicated Docket


The 1The Biden Administrations Dedicated DocketJune20211 What is the Dedicated Docket and why is it being implemented The Dedicated Docket was announced on May 28 2021 as a joint effort between the D

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Document on Subject : "Biden Administrations Dedicated Docket"— Transcript:

1 The Biden Administration’s Dedicated
The Biden Administration’s Dedicated Docket 1 The Biden Administration’s Dedicated Docket June 2021 1. What is the Dedicated Docket and why is it being implemented? The Dedicated Docket was announced on May 28, 2021, as a joint effort between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to decrease the amount of time it takes for certain asylum cases to be adjudicated. Under the Dedica ted Docket, immigration judges from the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) will work to issue a decision within 300 days of an initial master calendar hearing . However, 300 days is an “internal goal”, not a requirement. 1 Those enrolled i n the Dedicated Docket still have the ability to request continuances, as do all respondents in removal proceedings, and immigration judges retain discretion to determine whether a continuance should be granted for good cause. Currently, there is an immig ration court backlog of over 1.3 million cases, with the average case taking over two years to adjudicate. 2 2. When will the Dedicated Docket begin? The government began identifying cases for this docket on May 28, 2021. 3. Who will be enrolled in the Dedicated Docket? Families may be selected if they are apprehended while crossing between ports of entry on or after May 28, 2021, placed in removal proceedings, and enrolled in an a lternative to d etention (ATD). EOIR has s elected immigration courts in the following ten cities to run the Dedicated Docket alongside the normal docket: Denver ; Detroit ; El Paso ; Los Angeles ; Miami ; Newark ; New York City ; San Diego ; San Francisco ; and Seattle . Only those whose cases are being adj udicated at courts in these cities will be enrolled. Those who change venues to a court not located in one of these ten cities will have their case transferred to the normal docket. Most families will be enrolled in SmartLINK as their ATD, which requires p eriodic check - ins through a mobile application, but some may also be put on ankle monitors or enrolled in telephonic monitoring, depending on operational capacity. 4. Will those enrolled in the Dedicated Docket receive legal services? Possibly. Accordin g to a May 28 memorandum from EOIR, 3 “ Respondents whose cases are placed on these dockets will be provided with a number of services, including access to information services and possible referral services to facilitate legal representation. ” Anyone who is in removal proceedings and not detained also has access to the Immigration Court Helpdesk (ICH), regardless of whether or not the ICH operates in the same city where their case is being adjudicated. While the ICH does not provide legal advice, it can connect respondents with legal assistance and give information about immigration law. The ICH currently operates in five cities: New York City ; Los Angeles ; Miami ; Chicago ; and San Antonio . Three of these (New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami) are included in those cities chosen for the Dedicated Docket. The Biden Administration’s Dedicated Docket 2 5. How does this differ from similar programs implemented in the past? Other expedited dockets — often referred to as “rocket dockets” — have been implemented in past years, incl

2 uding during both the Obama and Trump Ad
uding during both the Obama and Trump Administrations. 4 These efforts raised serious due process concerns and often proved detrimental to due process. For example, under the Trump Administration’s accelera ted docket program, 80 % of cases result ed in in absentia removal orders, meaning the families were not in court when a judge ordered them removed. 5 Generally, those with legal representation are many times more likely to receive some form of relief than t hose without, especially asylum seekers, but most struggle to obtain pro bono representation. 6 The Biden Administration has promised that the Dedicated Docket will not sacrifice due process for speedy adjudications. 7 However, concerns remain that those enrolled in the Dedicated Docket will not receive complete and just consideration of their cases, especially since legal representation is not guaranteed to those in immigration proceedings. Rather, respondents have a right to be represented, but they are responsible for obtaining their own counsel. The Administration has conveyed a desire to expand the DOJ’s Legal Orientation Program (LOP), to include programming specifically for the Dedicated Docket, but such expansion remains to be seen. Additionally, the i mmigration judges who will be adjudicating cases on the Dedicated Docket do not already have cases on the normal docket. They will be a combination of new and experienced judges. EOIR will also continue remote hearings using video confer encing technology, as it has during the COVID - 19 pandemic, in addition to in - person hearings. 6. What are some resources available to those with immigration cases? The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), has over 390 affiliates across 49 states and the District of Columbia , including a number of Catholic Charities agencies , which offer legal assist ance, often at little or no charge. 8 In addition, the DOJ’s Immigration Court Online Resource (ICOR) provides information and resources about immigration proceedings before EOIR. 9 Endnotes 1 Memorandum from EOIR Acting Director Jean King on Dedicated Docket (May 27, 2021), https://bit.ly/3pmi6xH [hereinafter EOIR Memo] . 2 TRAC, Immigration Court Backlog Tool , https://bit.ly/34Pb1vP (last visited June 4, 2021); TRAC, Immigration Court Processing Time by Outcome , https://bit.ly/3g9A5D5 (last visited June 4, 2021). 3 EORI Memo, supra note 1. 4 Claire Hansen, Biden Administration to Speed Up Court Cases of Migrant Families Caught Crossing Border , U.S. News & World Report (May 28, 2021), https://bit.ly/3ieSd0X . 5 Sarah Pierce, As the Trump Adm inistration Seeks to Remove Families, Due - Process Questions over Rocket Dockets Abound , Migration Policy Institute (July 2019), https://bit.ly/3xavU0X . 6 See id. ; see also Ingrid V. Eagly & Steven Shafer, A National Study of Access to Counsel in Immigration Court , 164 U. P A . L. R EV . 1 (2015), https://bit.ly/3z1Lv4m . 7 See Press Release, Department of Justice, DHS and DOJ Announce Dedic ated Docket Process for More Efficient Immigration Hearings (May 28, 2021), https://bit.ly/3z4b1pG (“[F]airness will not be compromised.”). 8 CLINIC, Affiliate Directory , https: //bit.ly/3gcYd7O . 9 Catholic Charities USA, Find Help , https://bit.ly/3uXddfG