Putting TRAC to Work
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September 23, 2021

Some of the Haitians in Del Rio may have a long wait going through the asylum process
By Erica Proffer

Immigration courts are backed up by 1.4 million cases, according to researchers at Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. It takes years to go through the process. In May 2021, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice created a “Dedicated Docket” process. "Under this new process, certain recently arrived families may be placed on the Dedicated Docket. Families may qualify if they are apprehended between ports of entry on or after Friday, May 28, 2021, placed in removal proceedings, and enrolled in Alternatives to Detention (ATD). DHS, in partnership with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), will make available information services to help families understand the immigration system and refer families to pro bono legal service providers for possible representation," a DHS and DOJ joint press release shows. "It raises questions both about how disruptive this may be for the immigration court system and for immigration judges. When you move cases around, it's not as if you're moving them in a vacuum. Other cases have to move. So these cases may move quicker, but other cases may move slower," Austin Kocher, PhD, TRAC assistant research professor, said. The goal of the “Dedicated Docket” program is to have a decision within 300 days of the family’s initial master calendar hearing. TRAC statistics show the initial hearing could still take months.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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