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The Times Editorial Board
November 25, 2016

Editorial: Asylum seekers deserve the chance to be heard

A recent report by Syracuse Universityís Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse found that of 38,601 ďrocket docketĒ cases of adults (usually mothers) with children decided from July 2014 through this past September, 70% of those facing deportation didnít have a lawyer. Of those, 43.4% were ordered deported at their initial hearing, with a median time from filing to closure of 24 days. But among those who found a lawyer, only 4% were ordered out at that initial hearing. Itís unconscionable that lack of access to legal help forces so many vulnerable people who may have a legal right to stay to instead return to danger. While the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which operates the immigration courts, disputes some of TRACís analysis of federal data, the broad outlines of the report reveal a stunning difference in outcomes. A prime factor in that disparity, according to TRAC, is that only 1 in 15 families without lawyers filed the proper papers to seek asylum, something immigration advocates ascribe to their ignorance of the arcane process. You canít make a coherent case that you should be allowed sanctuary if you donít know how the system works.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2016
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