The Biden administration wants to expedite immigration cases of people coming into the United States between ports of entry by establishing a Dedicated Docket program to quickly have some cases heard in the courts.
”Families arriving at the border who are placed in immigration proceedings should have their cases decided in an orderly, efficient, and fair manner,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in a press release announcing the move Friday. ”Families who have recently arrived should not languish in a multi-year backlog; today’s announcement is an important step for both justice and border security.”
In the plan, judges are asked to rule on cases within 300 days rather than years later.
”The mission of the Department of Justice’s immigration courts is to decide the cases that come before them promptly and fairly,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, who joined with Mayorkas in the announcement. ”This new program for certain newly arriving families will help achieve that critically important goal.”
The new program impacts those crossing the border on Friday and into the future, according to the report.
The families qualify if they were apprehended between ports of entry on or after Friday, placed in removal proceedings, and enrolled in the Alternatives to Detention program.
Immigration courts in 10 designated cities including Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, El Paso, Detroit and Denver will be involved, and several government agencies will provide the migrants with information services about the system and immigration process, according to the press release.
Immigration advocates, however, fear the move will increase deportations and limit the due process to which the immigrants are entitled, The Hill reported Friday.
”Legal processing doesn’t happen in a vacuum, so I have two concerns,” César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, a law professor at Ohio State University, told The Hill. ”One, are you going to be shortcutting anywhere that is going to have detrimental impact on the claims that people who are on this special docket receive? Because they are not going to have enough time to find lawyers, to build up their legal cases. It just takes time to do that, and then you’re shortchanging the quality of justice meted out.
“And the second part is about the people whose cases get displaced because court resources are being redistributed. … Are those people just being pushed to the back of the line and having to wait interminable amounts of time before they find out what their future looks like?”
The move comes as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel and resources find themselves strained as an estimated 1,000 migrants slip across the border each day and vanish into the interior of the country, according to a report by The Washington Post.
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