New policy speeds up hearings in immigration court for some cases

June 2, 2021

Last week, the U.S. government announced a new policy to process some families’ cases  more quickly in immigration court. The government said this new policy will apply to families who crossed the border on or after May 28, 2021, were released from detention, and have their hearings in certain U.S. cities.

What you should know about this new policy:

  • The government will try to make decisions within 300 days of the first hearing in immigration court for families placed in this program.
  • This program should NOT apply to those who crossed the border BEFORE May 28, 2021.
  • It will be in effect in the following ten cities: Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Even though this is a new announcement, the policy is very similar to a harmful policy from the Trump administration known as the “rocket docket.” The “rocket docket” makes some asylum seekers have to present their cases in court very quickly after they arrive in the U.S. This makes it very difficult for them to have enough time  to prepare their cases or find legal help.

The government said that families under this new program will have the opportunity to work with legal services organizations and ask for more time to find legal help. But we are still waiting on more details about what that will look like in practice.

Click here for information on how to check the status of your hearings in the immigration court. You can also visit this page to find legal help, community support, information about social services, and more. Read the government’s announcement about this new policy here.

For more information and resources from the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) visit our website.

Note: This information is for individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.