Sep 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

By the numbers: Speeding border asylum cases

Data: TRAC; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: TRAC; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Biden administration now has nearly 17,000 migrants assigned to special courts dedicated to processing families seeking asylum quicker.

Why it matters: New data from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) gives another sign of just how many migrants — including families — have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to claim political asylum.

  • Nearly 12,000 migrants were added to the docket in August, according to TRAC.
  • Two-thirds of the more than 16,700 cases have been assigned to just six judges, portending new backlogs in a process designed to circumvent them.
  • One Boston immigration judge was assigned 129 cases in one day.

What they're saying: Multiple advocacy groups have condemned the administration's return to so-called "rocket dockets" for migrant families. There's concern the cases are decided too quickly — not giving migrants a fair shot.

  • Such a fast-track court process is just another way the administration is scrambling to more quickly move migrants through the immigration process.
  • "Although the Biden administration is understandably trying to find creative ways to address asylum-seeking families, the new 'Dedicated Docket' may do more to simply shuffle cases around and disrupt immigration judge’s schedules rather than allowing the court to process asylum cases in a fair and efficient manner,” Austin Kocher, a TRAC assistant research professor, told Axios.
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