|(17 Aug 2021)
According to the latest case-by-case court data, the Immigration Court has recorded placing 4,866 people comprising approximately 1,700 families onto their Dedicated Docket. Announced as a new Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice joint initiative on May 28, 2021, the stated goal of the Dedicated Docket is to speed the hearing and resolution of family cases.
Currently a daily average of around 150 individuals are being added to the Court's workload and assigned to special hearing locations.
Overall, the most typical family had a young female head with one or two young children. Perhaps the most astonishing characteristic of this initial group of assigned families is that 41 percent of the approximately 5,000 individuals are from Ecuador.
Children tended to be quite young, with the most frequent being two or three years of age. Almost two-thirds of the adults were females. About half of family units were made up of an adult with one child. An additional third were comprised of three individuals—sometimes a husband and wife with one child, or an adult with two children Most of the remaining had four individuals. Adults from 21-34 years predominated and comprised three-quarters of all adults.
Ten cities were initially chosen to set up special dedicated dockets to process these cases. According to the Administration, these ten cities were selected because they have "established communities of legal services providers and available judges to handle the cases." Since the announcement, Boston has been added to this list. While eleven cities now have dedicated dockets, so far half of all cases have been assigned to the hearing location in New York City.
A relatively small number of judges have been assigned to hear most cases on the dedicated docket thus far. Nearly one out of every four of the 5,000 cases have been assigned to Immigration Judge Francisco R. Prieto in New York City. With such an enormous DD caseload, all assigned in a short period of time, it remains to be seen how the hearing process can provide proper due process while at the same time resolving cases within 300 days—the target set by the program.
For many more details on this initial set of families assigned to the Immigration Court's Dedicated Docket, read the full report at:
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