Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to Announce “Recent Arrivals” Docket Process for More Efficient Immigration Hearings

Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to Announce “Recent Arrivals” Docket Process for More Efficient Immigration Hearings
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. Editorial credit: Tennessee Witney /
Justice Department Finalizes Rule to Allow for More Efficient Immigration Judge Dockets

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced a new Recent Arrivals (RA) Docket process to more expeditiously resolve immigration cases of certain noncitizen single adults who attempt to cross irregularly between ports of entry at the Southwest border. This effort will allow Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice Department to more swiftly impose consequences, including removal, on those without a legal basis to remain in the United States and to more swiftly grant immigration relief or protections to noncitizens with valid claims. The Justice Department also submitted to the Federal Register a final rule to promote efficient case and docket management in immigration proceedings.

“Today, we are instituting with the Department of Justice a process to accelerate asylum proceedings so that individuals who do not qualify for relief can be removed more quickly and those who do qualify can achieve protection sooner,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas. “This administrative step is no substitute for the sweeping and much-needed changes that the bipartisan Senate bill would deliver, but in the absence of Congressional action we will do what we can to most effectively enforce the law and discourage irregular migration.”

“The Justice Department’s immigration courts are committed to the just and efficient enforcement of the immigration laws,” said Attorney General Garland. “These measures will advance that mission by helping to ensure that immigration cases are adjudicated promptly and fairly.”

In our current, overwhelmed immigration system, noncitizens arriving at the U.S. Southwest border often wait years before receiving a final decision in an immigration court proceeding. Insufficient resources, including insufficient immigration judges and attorneys, has impeded the swift resolution of claims, and extended the length of the immigration court process.

Under the RA Docket process, DHS will place certain noncitizen single adults on the RA Docket, and the Executive Office for Immigration Review adjudicators will prioritize the adjudication of these cases. The RA Docket will operate in five cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Immigration judges will aim to render final decisions within 180 days, though the time to decision in any particular case will remain subject to case-specific circumstances and due process guarantees, including allowing time for noncitizens to seek representation where needed.

In order to support these efforts, today the Justice Department also submitted to the Federal Register a final rule titled, Efficient Case and Docket Management in Immigration Proceedings. The rule codifies procedures and standards for immigration adjudicators across the country to manage their dockets and resolve cases efficiently. The rule allows adjudicators to prioritize cases that are ready to be resolved promptly, enabling them to address their caseloads more efficiently and quickly. This rule is an important step the Justice Department is taking to promote the efficient, expeditious, and fair adjudication of immigration cases, allocate limited resources more efficiently, and protect due process for parties in immigration court.

Lastly, the Departments continue to call on Congress to take up and pass the Senate’s bipartisan border security legislation, which if passed would provide DHS and the Justice Department with additional authorities and resources that are critically needed. These resources include more immigration judges, additional asylum officers and support staff, and needed authorities to more quickly adjudicate asylum cases of those arriving at our border, including by granting protection to those with valid claims, and removing those without a lawful basis to remain. Congress should take up and pass this legislation to fix our broken immigration system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.