New Program Means No Lawyers for L.A. Asylum-seekers

The Biden government’s Dedicated Dockets program is denying people their day in court.

The program was created in May 2021 to make the asylum process fair, efficient, and fast for people crossing the southwest border. Used in 11 cities, its goal is to complete cases within 300 days instead of 4.5 years.

It’s fast but hardly fair.

70% of families on L.A. Dedicated Dockets entered the process without lawyers. And immigration judges in L.A. denied asylum in 90.7% of cases, far above the 67.6% national average.

Out of 449 cases completed under the program in Los Angeles, 99.1% resulted in deportation orders. Many of those were issued “in absentia”, meaning the people weren’t even in court to argue their case.

Around 2,410 families were on the docket in L.A., and most were charged with “entry without inspection”, meaning they entered America without being inspected by an immigration or border patrol officer.

Children, most of them under 6 years old, made up almost half the docket and half the “in absentia” deportation orders. Children usually have stronger cases than their parents, but they’re getting lumped together and deported without having a chance.

The U.S. government has asked lawyers to work more of these cases for free.

Dedicated Dockets was made with the goal of not separating families. But without a lawyer to help, a child’s independent claim to asylum is overlooked as they move through the process with their parents.

Alternate Title: Most L.A. Asylum-seekers Don’t Have Lawyers

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