On October 17th, 2022, The Transactional Resources Access Clearinghouse reported that more than 63,500 removal cases in immigration court have been dismissed in fiscal year 2022 because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has failed to file necessary charging documents. By standard process, removal procedures begin when DHS files a Notice to Appear also known as an NTA.
The NTA is a charge document, much like an indictment in court. It outlines the individual’s rights, explains the processes in accordance with the law, and details the exact accusations of removability together with the factual claims that support them. Moreover, the correct service of the NTA by DHS on the immigrant is the only question at hand in removal proceedings. In accordance with section 240(b)(5) of the INA, an immigration court must order the removal in absence of a respondent who misses a scheduled removal hearing if DHS can demonstrate that the respondent received the NTA.
Immigration processes cannot proceed without an NTA. According to TRAC, one out of every six immigration cases was dismissed as a result of this delayed submission. Furthermore, if the NTA is not properly filed, the person may attend hearings without their counsel and discover that the case has been dismissed since the NTA was never submitted. With the backlog of immigration cases, it is inevitable that time is a highly valuable resource. This omission of a necessary document strains the entire immigration process for immigrants.