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More Than 200K Deportations Cases Thrown Out Due to Biden Administration Not Filing the Paperwork

Lapses in Legal Mandates: DHS Fails to Issue NTAs


A staggering figure of approximately 200,000 deportation cases have been side-lined due to an administrative failure by the current government to provide requisite documentation. This is according to a novel report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) that brought this alarming trend to light this Wednesday.

per the regular mandates, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is compulsorily supposed to issue a ‘Notice to Appear’ (NTA) to the immigration courts whenever they ascertain an illegal migrant needs to be repatriated. This report signals a slip between the cup and the lip, as it outlines numerous instances where the Biden-led administration was unable to complete this task.

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The report further highlighted instances where the lack of requisite NTAs, at the time of a scheduled hearing in an immigration court, curtailed the judges’ capacity to adjudicate the case. This serious omission naturally led to the dismissal of the particular case. Notably, it was uncommon in the past for an immigration court to abandon a deportation case purely because DHS couldn’t deliver an NTA. This underlines a significant discrepancy in the operations of the Biden administration.

The report delves deeper by comparing these dismissals with those of the previous years. It was found that from 2014 to 2020, less than 4% of cases faced dismissal due to a critical lack of the necessary NTA. However, the subsequent years under the Biden administration showed a noticeable rise in these figures, with nearly 12% of cases dismissed in 2022 alone owing to similar causes.

It’s worth taking a closer look at the percentages of these dismissals across different cities. The findings suggest cities in Texas and Florida observing a sizable 50% dismissal rate under Biden’s administration, demonstrating the largest percentage of such cases. Conversely, cities like those in New Jersey, Washington, and California clocked much lower rates, registering dismissals less than 4% of the time.

One of the serious implications of an NTA being unfiled is that DHS typically has to start from square one by filling a fresh NTA. This essentially means reinitiating the entire process, an administratively strenuous and time-consuming task. According to the TRAC report, this has emerged as a pressing concern and a clear departure from the smooth functioning seen before.

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Analyzing the figures further, only a trifling quarter of the initially dismissed 200,000 deportation cases managed to reboot within a year. This again was facilitated by DHS issuing a new NTA. The staggering implication of this is that the majority of these cases remain unresolved, dangling as loose ends.

Efforts of self-praise from the Biden administration were visible when, in January, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas fervidly proclaimed that they had deported a ‘record’ number of migrants from the U.S. As per the secretary, more than 470,000 expulsions have taken place since the discontinuation of Title 42 in May 2023.

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However, Mayorkas conveniently omitted a grim point from his triumphant announcement. Despite the reported ‘record’ deportations, the number of individuals being repatriated is significantly dwarfed by the overwhelmingly large number of unlawful migrants making their way into the country. Customs and Border Protection has noted more than 6.5 million migrant apprehensions during fiscal years spanning 2021 to 2024.

It wouldn’t be wrong to profess that the administration under Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas has been under intense scrutiny concerning the handling of border policies. Critics argue that these policies have inadvertently smoothed the pathway for a drastic uptick in illegal immigration.

On one hand, Biden’s public stand is that he is impotent in enforcing rigorous border security without the formal sanction by the legislative body – the Congress. Meanwhile, he has been privately mulling over the possibility of executive actions to reinforce border control measures, even in the absence of Congressional approval.

In light of these revelations, the Department of Homeland Security was approached for a comment on the sudden increase in lapsed deportation cases, as brought to light by the TRAC report. However, the department, till the time of writing this report, has not responded.

All in all, the report has unraveled some concerning imperfections in the current administrative set-up. The conspicuous rise in dismissal of deportation cases due to the administration’s inability to furnish necessary NTAs outlines a critical misstep. It urges for an exhaustive reconsideration of the procedures to ensure there are no slips in the future.

The data clearly calls upon the administration to correct and enhance its working procedures. After all, an efficient and well-run organization should have a far tighter lid on such lapses. Preserving the integrity of the system is of utmost importance, and part of that is ensuring proper protocols are followed to their precise letter.

While it can be argued that every administration has its fair share of teething problems, the extent to which there has been an increase in case dismissals is staggeringly high under the current dispensation. It is of utmost importance that such issues be rectified at the earliest to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of processes in place.

However, it’s also imperative to acknowledge that border enforcement is a massively complex problem. The report underscores the need for a fundamental reevaluation of the systems currently in place, and for determining ways to improve upon them. And it’s just as critical to ensure that any changes made to improve the system are equally adept at upholding dignity and human rights.

Ultimately, the findings of the report should serve as a springboard for constructive dialogue, policy reform, and organizational improvement within the current administration. It should instill a sense of urgency to meticulously address the loopholes and put forth a robust system to tackle the challenges of immigration and deportation.

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