DHS, DOJ Announce Faster Immigration Hearings for Recent Arrivals

WASHINGTON — Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland introduced the Recent Arrivals (RA) Docket process to expedite the resolution of immigration cases for certain noncitizen single adults who cross the Southwest border irregularly.

This initiative enables DHS and DOJ to more swiftly impose consequences, including removal, on individuals without a legal basis to stay in the United States, and to quickly grant relief to those with valid claims. Additionally, the Justice Department submitted a final rule to the Federal Register aimed at enhancing efficiency in case and docket management within immigration proceedings.

“Today, in collaboration with the Department of Justice, we are implementing a process to accelerate asylum proceedings, ensuring quicker removal for those who do not qualify for relief and faster protection for those who do,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “While this administrative step does not replace the comprehensive reforms proposed in the bipartisan Senate bill, it is a necessary action in the absence of Congressional action to enforce the law and deter irregular migration effectively.”

Attorney General Garland added, “The Justice Department’s immigration courts are committed to enforcing immigration laws justly and efficiently. These measures will help ensure that immigration cases are adjudicated promptly and fairly.”

Currently, the overwhelmed immigration system causes noncitizens arriving at the U.S. Southwest border to often wait years for a final decision in court proceedings. Insufficient resources, including a lack of immigration judges and attorneys, have delayed the resolution of claims and prolonged court processes.

The RA Docket process will place certain noncitizen single adults on a prioritized docket, with EOIR adjudicators aiming to render final decisions within 180 days. This docket will be implemented in five cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Judges will consider case-specific circumstances and procedural protections, including time for noncitizens to seek representation.

To support these efforts, the Justice Department’s final rule, Efficient Case and Docket Management in Immigration Proceedings, codifies procedures and standards for managing dockets and resolving cases promptly. This rule allows adjudicators to prioritize ready-to-resolve cases, enhancing efficiency and fairness in the adjudication process.

Both departments continue to urge Congress to pass the Senate’s bipartisan border security legislation, which would provide DHS and DOJ with critical additional resources and authorities. This legislation includes more immigration judges, asylum officers, support staff, and the necessary authorities to quickly adjudicate asylum cases, grant protection to those with valid claims, and remove individuals without a lawful basis to remain. Congressional action is essential to address the systemic issues in the current immigration system.–News Desk