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Law 360
September 13, 2021

'Dedicated Docket' May Overwhelm Immigration Courts
By Alyssa Aquino

Thousands of individual asylum seekers' cases were sent to the "dedicated docket" process in August, a Syracuse University research organization reported Monday, raising concerns that the influx could overwhelm the immigration courts and delay justice for migrant families seeking protection. After analyzing immigration court records, Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse reported that the Biden administration's "dedicated docket" for recently arrived migrant families had rapidly expanded throughout August. The asylum cases of 16,700 people are being heard through the program; 11,800 of those were placed into the system in August. The report said the ramp-up may lead to due process issues, pointing out that Judge Mario J. Sturla of the Boston Immigration Court has been assigned 20% of the cases the most of any immigration judge and is scheduled to hold hearings for 46 families, or 129 asylum seekers, in one day. "Even if the entire eight-hour day was spent hearing these cases, only roughly 10 minutes on average per family would be available," the report said. "And no doubt many procedural matters, including the need to switch translators to handle the different languages spoken by these asylum seekers, would consume some time during this packed hearing day."

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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