US Announces Process To Speed Up Migrant Cases

US Announces Process To Speed Up Migrant Cases

( – The Biden administration is rolling out a new effort aimed at lowering the amount of time certain migrants wait when seeking asylum in the United States. Known as the “Recent Arrivals” (RA) docket process, this multi-part strategy is tightly focused on reducing processing times for asylum cases in immigration court.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the RA docket, or “rocket docket,” targets single adults who cross the southern border between ports of entry without authorization. Migrants who are applying for asylum have sometimes waited as long as several years for a decision on their application; some migrants can now expect to receive an answer within 180 days.

The immigration court system has been significantly weighed down by a lack of human resources. There are too few judges and attorneys to address the number of cases coming in each year, which continues to rise even now. In fact, these gaps in coverage are so severe the backlog of cases ballooned to well over 3.5 million in early 2024.

According to the DOJ, just 725 judges are responsible for overseeing these cases as they move through the courts. The backlog alone translates out to a gargantuan ratio of approximately 4,830 cases per judge.

This red tape creates a lose-lose scenario for legitimate asylum seekers and government agencies tasked with cracking down on illegal immigration. Lengthy delays for a final ruling interfere with deportations, while those who apply remain in limbo within the system.

In order to qualify to have their cases expedited, migrants must intend to live in Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York City. They must also be able to prove that they entered the US recently and turned themselves in to authorities without evading detection.

This most recent change piggybacks on a series of earlier decisions from the Biden administration aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. In early May, the DHS proposed a new rule granting asylum officers the right to quickly reject and deport any person considered a credible threat to national security or public safety. This includes migrants who have been convicted of a serious crime, either in the US or abroad.

The Biden administration also chose to return to Title 8 authorities after Title 42 expired in 2023. Title 8 allows the government to deport any unauthorized migrant while also imposing serious legal consequences on those who stay on US soil without permission.

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