Status Docket – The New Case Management Tool for Immigration Courts

Currently immigration courts have been placing cases on the status docket. Status docket is a mechanism the immigration court is using for placing cases on hold, while the respondent is waiting for another court or immigration agency to make a decision in his case. For example, an immigration judge may agree to place your immigration case on the Status Docket, if your US citizen spouse filed an immigrant visa petition on your behalf and you are otherwise eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident OR your petition to remove conditional residency is pending with the USCIS.
The Status docketprovides ample hearing space on existing dockets and enable the immigration judges to handle all cases in an efficient manner.

It was in 2018 that the Executive Office for Immigration Review started to systemize dockets efficiently. There have been various types of dockets under different categories for several years now. Status dockets are not appropriate for all courts. Keeping in mind the case volumes and case types handled by the courts, the Policy Memorandum (PM) clarifies the application of status dockets for the courts that make use of them.

1.Status docket is only meant for status cases…

It is important to be informed that only status cases can be placed on a status docket. Status cases are cases in those that an immigration judge must delay final judgment of the case pursuant to law.

Status cases are basically of these three defined categories:

[1] A case in which an immigration judge must continue the case pursuant so as to wait the adjudication of an application/petition by the USCIS.

[2] A case in which the immigration judge is supposed to reserve a decision rather than completing the case pursuant to the law or policy.

[3] A case in which is subject to the deadline established by a federal court order.

Also it is inappropriate for an immigration court to place other non-status cases on a status docket.

2. A case is placed on a status docket when…

A status docket is a case management tool used by the immigration court. There is no right or entitlement for anybody to have a case placed on the status docket. Cases are placed on a status docket automatically by the immigration court once an immigration judge decides that the case falls in either one of the categories mentioned as status cases only after the continuance is warranted. It is important to note that the determination of an immigration court to place a case on the docket case takes place only after the assigned immigration judge has ruled that the continuance is warranted.  Also, no immigration court can place a case on a status docket unless an immigration judge has determined that a continuance is warranted, or a continuance request is denied.

What happens when a case in placed on status docket ?

When an immigration court places a case on the status docket, the immigration court will send out a notice to the concerned parties informing that the case is being placed on the court’s status docket. If appropriate the notice also lets the parties know of a call-up date by which he/she must provide an update. The notice also provides details of the next hearing date that the party should submit the update. It is also mandatory that an alien appears to the hearing data enlisted unless the he or she receives a notice of a new hearing date.

What happens to the case on status docket after submitting a status update ?

The immigration judge will determine the next course of action after either party submits a status update to the immigration court. The court will thereafter maintain the case on the status docket and issue a notice with the updated call-up date and the next hearing date. If a status update indicates, for example, that the petition has been adjudicated by the USCIS, the case will return to the regular docket for further action by the immigration judge.   The judge then may terminate proceedings, schedule the case for another master hearing or schedule the case for an individual hearing.

A case can also be removed from the status docket if it was inappropriately placed on the docket.