Wed | Jun 19, 2024

NYC immigration advocates condemn new rule on Caribbean asylum seekers

Published:Friday | May 17, 2024 | 8:39 AM
CMC photo.

NEW YORK, CMC – The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) has condemned a new United States rule that solidifies the “Recent Arrivals” (RA) Docket process aimed at reducing the time it takes to decide the fate of newly-arrived Caribbean and other asylum seekers in immigration courts from years to an estimated six months.

Many of the migrants crossing the southern border of the US and arriving at major cities, such as New York, are nationals from Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Honduras.

NYIC, an umbrella policy and advocacy organisation that represents over 200 immigrant and refugee rights groups throughout New York State, said the RA Docket will impact single adult Caribbean and other asylum seekers who have recently entered the US and are destined for five specific cities, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

It said that now their cases will be ruled on by US immigration judges within the goal of 180 days.

“This rule would impact people who have fled political and humanitarian turmoil in their home countries, potentially leading to unfair deportation without adequate due process,” Murad Awawdeh, NYIC's president and chief executive officer, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

“This is yet another escalation of the restrictions the Biden administration has made on access to asylum, limiting people's ability to access safety fairly, instead of delivering meaningful solutions.

“An expedited process cannot come at the expense of due process or a fair consideration of an individual's asylum claim, which could lead to wrongful deportations and place lives at risk.”

Awawdeh is urging the Biden administration to reconsider this and other proposed new rules and processes limiting asylum, claiming that the new policies are “designed only to score cheap political points, rather than create the long-term benefits of a fair and efficient immigration system, which will pay dividends to our economy and our communities”.

On Thursday, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the new RA Docket process, saying it would “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,” they said.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) also submitted to the US 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,” Mayorkas said.

Garland said that the DOJ's immigration courts are “committed to the just and efficient enforcement of the immigration laws.

“These measures will advance that mission by helping to ensure that immigration cases are adjudicated promptly and fairly,” he said.

The DOJ said that in the “current, overwhelmed immigration system, noncitizens arriving at the US Southwest border often wait years before receiving a final decision in an immigration court proceeding.

“Insufficient resources, including insufficient immigration judges and attorneys, have impeded the swift resolution of claims, and extended the length of the immigration court process,” it said.

Under the RA Docket process, the DOJ said DHS will place certain noncitizen single adults on the RA Docket, and the Executive Office for Immigration Review adjudicators will prioritise the adjudication of these cases.

The DOJ said the RA Docket will operate in five cities – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City – and that 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.”

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