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Immigration Law

CBP Fails to File NTAs Leading to Large Numbers of Dismissals

TRAC, July 29, 2022

"One out of every six new cases DHS initiates in Immigration Court are now being dismissed because CBP officials are not filing the actual “Notice to Appear” (NTA) with the Court. The latest case-by-case Court records obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University through a series of Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests show a dramatic increase in these cases. See Figure 1. The number of case closures along with those dismissed because no NTA was filed are shown in Table 1.

Figure 1. Immigration Court Cases Dismissed Because DHS Failed to File a "Notice to Appear" to Initiate Court Proceedings, FY 2013 - FY 2022 (through June)
Table 1. Immigration Court Cases Dismissed Because DHS Failed to File a "Notice to Appear" to Initiate Court Proceedings, FY 2013 - FY 2022 (through June)
Fiscal Year All Court Completions Dismissed: No NTA Filed
Number Percent
2013 167,446 355 0.2%
2014 160,483 225 0.1%
2015 168,684 41 0.0%
2016 178,052 11 0.0%
2017 179,153 84 0.0%
2018 193,391 505 0.3%
2019 276,647 4,686 1.7%
2020 243,367 5,952 2.4%
2021 144,751 15,244 10.5%
2022* 284,446 47,330 16.6%
* Through the first 9 months (Oct-June 2022). If pattern continues, FY 2022 would end with 63,107 projected dismissals.

Ten years ago this failure to file a NTA was rare. But as the onset in Table 1 shows, the frequency increased once Border Patrol agents were given the ability to use the Immigration Court’s Interactive Scheduling System (ISS). Using ISS, the agents can directly schedule the initial hearing (i.e. a master calendar hearing) at the Immigration Court. Supposedly, the actual NTA is created at the same time, and a copy given to the asylum seeker or other noncitizen with the scheduled hearing location and time they are to show up in Court noted on the NTA.

Thus, the process only requires that CBP actually follow up with the ministerial task of seeing that the Court also receives a copy of the NTA. With the implementation of the Court’s ECAS system of e-filing, this should have made the process quick and straightforward. That this is failing to be done suggests there is a serious disconnect between the CBP agents entering new cases and scheduling hearings through the Court’s ISS system, and other CBP personnel responsible for submitting a copy to the Court.

This is exceedingly wasteful of the Court’s time. It is also problematic for the immigrant (and possibly their attorney) if they show up at hearings only to have the case dismissed by the Immigration Judge because the case hasn’t actually been filed with the Court.

Where Is This Problem Occurring?

TRAC has sought, but has yet been unable to obtain, information on the specific Border Patrol units and locations where failure to file these NTAs is occurring. However, an analysis of all Court hearing locations finds that there are some Courts where the majority of all case completions are these dismissals for failing to file the NTA.

Leading the list in terms of the number of these NTA closures is the Dedicated Docket hearing location in Miami. Fully 7,700 out of the total of 9,492 case completions during FY 2022 — or 81 percent — were dismissals because the Court had not received the NTA.

While the situation for the Dedicated Docket in Miami was extreme, a number of Dedicated Docket locations have much higher dismissal rates than occur nationally where 1 out of 6 (17%) of case completions are closed for this reason. In Boston’s Dedicated Docket the rate of dismissal during the first 9 months of FY 2022 has been 62 percent, and in New York’s and Los Angeles’ Dedicated Dockets the rate is 32 percent – almost twice the national average.

But other Dedicated Docket locations have below average dismissal rates. These include San Francisco with 11 percent, New York’s separate Broadway DD hearing location with 15 percent, and Newark with 16 percent. [1] While It would appear that a policy which tries to accelerate the scheduling and hearing of cases puts additional pressure on DHS to promptly file, it isn’t an insurmountable burden. [2]

Further, some regular hearing locations have also been experiencing high dismissal rates because of DHS’s failure to file NTAs. These include Houston with 54 percent, Miami with 43 percent, and Chicago with 26 percent.

For a list of Immigration Court hearing locations with their individual dismissal rates because of DHS’s failure to file the NTA see Table 2.

Table 2. Immigration Court Cases by Hearing Location Dismissed Because DHS Failed to File a "Notice to Appear" to Initiate Court Proceedings in FY 2022 (October 2021-June 2022)
Court Hearing Location All Court Completions Dismissed: No NTA Filed Rank: No NTA
Number Percent Number Percent
All 284,446 47,330 17%    
IAD designated Hearing Locations* 5,516 5,516 100% 3 1
Miami - Dedicated Docket - DD 9,492 7,700 81% 1 2
Boston - Dedicated Docket - DD 2,752 1,698 62% 6 3
Houston, Texas 7,518 4,064 54% 4 4
Miami, Florida 16,644 7,155 43% 2 5
El Paso - Dedicated Docket - DD 169 69 41% 48 6
Los Angeles - Dedicated Docket - DD 3,006 974 32% 10 7
New York - Dedicated Docket - DD 3,436 1,098 32% 8 8
Chicago, Illinois 5,006 1,292 26% 7 9
Denver - Dedicated Docket - DD 1,019 258 25% 32 10
Orlando, Florida 3,437 640 19% 19 11
Charlotte 6,057 979 16% 9 12
New York Varick 4,254 676 16% 17 13
Newark - Dedicated Docket - DD 1,854 290 16% 29 14
Atlanta Non-Detained Juvenile 421 65 15% 49 15
NYB - Dedicated Docket - DD 1,183 179 15% 33 16
MPP Brownsville Gateway International Bridge 848 126 15% 37 17
Houston - S. Gessner 6,179 914 15% 11 18
Leland Federal Building 3,241 477 15% 23 19
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 5,284 748 14% 14 20
Santa Ana Immigration Court 6,257 874 14% 12 21
Chicago Non-Detained Juveniles 101 14 14% 65 22
New York City, New York 21,202 2,784 13% 5 23
Boston, Massachusetts 5,793 748 13% 14 24
New Orleans, Louisiana 5,139 647 13% 18 25
Arlington, Virginia 6,546 821 13% 13 26
Phoenix, Arizona 3,869 480 12% 22 27
San Juan, Puerto Rico 406 49 12% 52 28
Denver, Colorado 4,547 506 11% 20 29
San Francisco - Dedicated Docket - DD 1,437 159 11% 35 30
New York Broadway 6,593 708 11% 16 31
Sacramento Immigration Court 1,285 131 10% 36 32
Kansas City, Missouri 1,145 115 10% 41 33
Omaha, Nebraska 1,419 125 9% 38 34
San Diego, California 3,539 289 8% 30 35
Atlanta, Georgia 3,596 285 8% 31 36
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 220 17 8% 61 37
San Diego - Dedicated Docket - DD 288 22 8% 60 38
El Paso, Texas 2,208 168 8% 34 39
Las Vegas, Nevada 1,622 119 7% 40 40
Detroit, Michigan 1,953 124 6% 39 41
Van Nuys Immigration Court 6,405 388 6% 24 42
Houston Greenspoint Park 5,738 338 6% 26 43
Buffalo, New York 1,439 82 6% 43 44
Cleveland, Ohio 5,557 316 6% 27 45
Laredo Immigration Court 443 25 6% 58 46
San Francisco, California 9,277 502 5% 21 47
Mia Non-Detained Juveniles 536 29 5% 53 48
Newark, New Jersey 6,568 345 5% 25 49
San Francisco Non-Detained Juveniles 226 11 5% 68 50
Honolulu, Hawaii 278 13 5% 66 51
MPP Court El Paso 604 27 4% 55 52
Seattle - Dedicated Docket - DD 588 26 4% 56 53
Harlingen, Texas 1,811 78 4% 46 54
Portland, Oregon 1,281 54 4% 51 55
MPP Laredo,texas - Port of Entry 143 6 4% 72 56
Salt Lake City, Utah 1,949 80 4% 44 57
Tucson, Arizona 791 29 4% 53 58
MPP Court San Ysidro Port 195 7 4% 71 59
Charlotte Juvenile 477 17 4% 61 60
Reno, Nevada 330 11 3% 68 61
Memphis, Tennessee 3,837 114 3% 42 62
Hartford Juvenile 144 4 3% 73 63
Los Angeles - North Los Angeles Street 3,253 78 2% 46 64
Los Angeles, California 12,702 304 2% 28 65
Hartford, Connecticut 2,596 60 2% 50 66
Bloomington 3,577 79 2% 45 67
Imperial, California 497 9 2% 70 68
Bloomington Juvenile 177 3 2% 77 69
Arlington Juvenile 950 16 2% 64 70
Boston Unaccompanied Juvenile 817 13 2% 66 71
Detroit - Dedicated Docket - DD 200 3 2% 77 72
Memphis Juvenile 288 4 1% 73 73
Philadelphia Juvenile 375 4 1% 73 74
San Antonio, Texas 3,015 26 1% 56 75
Florence, Arizona 270 2 1% 79 76
Dallas, Texas 3,667 23 1% 59 77
New Orleans Juvenile 166 1 1% 81 78
Seattle, Washington 3,170 17 1% 61 79
Baltimore, Maryland 2,772 4 0% 73 80
Hyattsville Immigration Court 1,939 2 0% 79 81
Louisville, Kentucky 1,110 1 0% 81 82
Pearsall, Texas - Detention Facility 1,505 0 0% none none
Winn Correctional Facility 1,342 0 0% none none
Port Isabel Service Processing Center 1,324 0 0% none none
San Francisco Annex 1,017 0 0% none none
Stewart Detention Center - Lumpkin Georgia - LGD 866 0 0% none none
Conroe Immigration Court 754 0 0% none none
Baltimore, Maryland Juvenile 737 0 0% none none
Aurora Immigration Court 676 0 0% none none
San Antonio Satellite Office 654 0 0% none none
Boise, Idaho 575 0 0% none none
Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility 574 0 0% none none
Stewart Immigration Court 569 0 0% none none
T. Don Hutto Residential 527 0 0% none none
Jackson Parish 496 0 0% none none
Krome North Service Processing Center 474 0 0% none none
Prairieland Detention Center 470 0 0% none none
Imperial Detained 462 0 0% none none
Atlanta Non-Detained 417 0 0% none none
Otay Mesa Detention Center 407 0 0% none none
Chicago Detained 406 0 0% none none
Laredo, Texas - Detention Facility 404 0 0% none none
Lasalle Detention Facility 390 0 0% none none
Northwest Detention Center 382 0 0% none none
Eloy INS Detention Center 381 0 0% none none
Polk County Detention Facility 377 0 0% none none
El Paso Service Processing Center 372 0 0% none none
Otero County Processing Center 350 0 0% none none
Southwest Key 348 0 0% none none
Bluebonnet Detention Center 344 0 0% none none
Cleveland Juvenile 340 0 0% none none
Rio Grande Detention Center 319 0 0% none none
Denver Family Unit 282 0 0% none none
DHS-Litigation Unit/Oakdale 259 0 0% none none
Caroline Detention Facility 248 0 0% none none
Immigration Court 247 0 0% none none
Denver - Juvenile 245 0 0% none none
Houston Service Processing Center 240 0 0% none none
La Palma Eloy 237 0 0% none none
Batavia Service Processing Center 228 0 0% none none
Karnes County Correction Center 224 0 0% none none
Mcfarland-Mcm For Males 224 0 0% none none
River Correctional Facility 221 0 0% none none
Dilley - Stfrc 217 0 0% none none
Boston Detained 215 0 0% none none
Broward Transitional Center 202 0 0% none none
San Antonio Non-Detained Juvenile 182 0 0% none none
La Palma 179 0 0% none none
Seattle Non-Detained Juveniles 177 0 0% none none
Louisville Juvenile 175 0 0% none none
Orange County Correctional Facility 173 0 0% none none
Cibola County Correctional Center 161 0 0% none none
South Louisiana Correctional Center 161 0 0% none none
Richwood Correctional Center 158 0 0% none none
Nye County 150 0 0% none none
Kansas City Immigration Court - Detained 148 0 0% none none
San Diego Non-Detained Juvenile 142 0 0% none none
Bloomington Detained 137 0 0% none none
Desert View 131 0 0% none none
Giles W. Dalby Correctional Institution 122 0 0% none none
Joe Corley Detention Facility 116 0 0% none none
Texas DOC- Huntsville 112 0 0% none none
Torrance County Detention Facility 109 0 0% none none
Calhoun County Jail 107 0 0% none none
* Note all closures are for the failure to file a NTA. The Court created these special "IAD locational codes" ultimately within 77 Courts beginning back in July 2018. The cases they handle appear to consistently close because no NTA was filed. In FY 2022 these "IAD" dismissals were recorded as spread across 31 different Immigration Courts ("base cities"). Thus, this "IAD" tag appears to function largely as a book-keeping measure to separate out these dismissals from the rest of the Court's proceedings at these diverse locations.
Footnotes
[1]^ Three other Dedicated Docket locations which have a relatively small number of closures to date also weren’t experiencing high dismissal rates. These included Detroit where only 3 out of its 200 closures (2%) were because the NTA hadn’t been filed; Seattle with just 26 cases dismissed out of its 588 closures (4%); and San Diego with 22 dismissals out of its 288 closures (8%).
[2]^ See TRAC’s January 2022 report noting significant dismissal rates for failure to file at Dedicated Docket hearing locations. The rate then was 10 percent so the problem has considerably worsened since then."