Of the tens of thousands illegal immigrant family units that streamed across the U.S.-Mexico border last year and were released into the U.S., just a fraction have been removed, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data.
Removal data ICE provided to Breitbart News reveal that as of July 11, 2015 just 133 family unit heads of households apprehended in FY 2014 and placed on alternatives to detention were removed. The 133 removals do not, however, include juvenile family unit members.
“In the event a family unit is enrolled in the ATD program, only the head of household is required to participate; juveniles are not enrolled in ATD.” ICE explained to Breitbart News. “ICE is unable to statistically report on the total number of family unit members (i.e., inclusive of juveniles) apprehended in FY 2014 who were placed on ATD and subsequently removed.”
Last fiscal year Customs and Border Patrol apprehended 68,445 family unit members illegally entering the U.S. through the southwest border.
Stephen Miller, spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), called the low ATD removals “a dramatic indictment of the dangerous and costly policy of catch-and-release.”
According to ICE, as of June 27, 2015, 180 detained family units from Central America had been removed.
“A total of 180 family unit members from El Salvador (37), Guatemala (46), and Honduras (97) were released from an ICE Family Residential Center in FY 2014 and subsequently removed, as of June 27, 2015,” ICE explained.
As Breitbart News has reported, many of the family units released from detention have failed to appear for their immigration court dates.
Center for Immigration Studies expert Jessica Vaughan pointed to a recent Fox News report highlighting that 84 percent of family units failed to appear, simply absconding into the interior of the U.S.
“It is clear from the way they handled these cases that [the Obama administration] never had any intention of removing these people,” she said in an interview with Breitbart News.
Unaccompanied minors from Central America apprehended illegally entering the U.S. also experienced low removal levels. As Breitbart News has reported, last fiscal year ICE removed just 1,379 unaccompanied alien children (UACs) from Central America.
Of those 1,379 unaccompanied alien children (UAC), 190 were from from El Salvador, 686 from Guatemala, and 503 from Honduras. This fiscal year through May 9, ICE has removed 624 UACs from Central America — 98 from El Salvador, 293 from Guatemala, and 233 from Honduras. To be sure, these removals were not necessarily UACs apprehended in FY 2014. Instead the totals include those who were 18 at the time of their initial book-in and go as far back as FY 2009 through FY 2014/2015.
The numbers of UACs that have entered the U.S. illegally however, are vastly greater.
Last fiscal year, 68,541 UACs were apprehended illegally entering the U.S. The vast majority — 53,518 — were released into the interior of the U.S., placed with relatives or sponsors across the country. This fiscal year through June, CBP has apprehended 26,685 UACs.
“When you compare the numbers to the number of people who were apprehended over the time period it turns out they are deporting at most only 3 percent of the UACs and less than one percent of the family units,” Vaughan said.