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Immigration Impact
January 20, 2022

New Report Amplifies Concerns About ‘Dedicated Docket’ for Asylum Seekers
By Aaron Reichlin-Melnick

When the Biden administration announced a new “dedicated docket” in immigration court for families seeking asylum at the border, many advocates raised concerns that the docket would forgo due process for efficiency’s sake. This was the case for the “rocket dockets” that existed under President Obama, which suffered from lack of access to counsel and frequent bureaucratic errors. A new report from the non-partisan Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reveals that some of those concerns are being borne out. The TRAC report found that 92% of cases completed in the first seven months of the program resulted in an immigrant being issued an order of removal. In nearly all those cases, the immigrant did not have a lawyer. In total, just 16% of people put onto the Dedicated Docket since May have told the court they have a lawyer. Those whose cases have been pending the longest are most likely to have obtained lawyers. 46% of people with cases pending longer than six months secured a lawyer. This is to be expected, as many people take months to obtain a lawyer.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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