The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrant children ordered removed by judges over the past year and half simply did not show up for their final hearings, according to the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
The Media Research Center reports that, according to EOIR between July 2014 and January 26, 2016, immigration courts received 52,344 new cases of illegal immigrant unaccompanied minors. Of the cases, just 22,000 have been completed, with 10,142 or 20 percent of the total caseload, resulting in orders of removal.
According to the MRC, 8,900 or about 88 percent of the removal orders were issued in absentia, where the minor did not show up to court. Some 6,100 cases were deemed “administrative closed,” 4,800 were “terminated,” and the rest were given relief, “administratively completed” or considered “other immigration judge decisions.”
The MRC’s report comes amid a renewed surge of illegal immigration at the southern border. While last month saw a slight downturn in the number of apprehensions of Central American minors and family units, the overall trend has been up as hundreds of thousands of migrants illegal cross the U.S.-Mexico border expecting to stay.
Once apprehended, the Obama administration has released the vast majority of the illegal immigrant unaccompanied minors and family units back into the U.S. with orders to appear in court. As the low turn-out of unaccompanied minors reveal, few actually show up for their hearings, instead vanishing into the interior and joining the undocumented population in the U.S.
At the beginning of January the Obama administration moved forward with very limited enforcement actions to deport some of the illegal immigrants who crossed the border illegally after May 2014 and had failed to comply with removal orders.
The very limited actions sparked outrage in the immigration activist community and skepticism among immigration hawks who saw the raids as window-dressing. While DHS has signaled it will enforce the law based on its “priorities for enforcement” it is unclear if ICE will be moving forward with additional raids.