HOUSTON, Texas–As thousands of unaccompanied minors continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally each day, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many of them will ultimately not be deported. Data from the federal government indicates that each year the number of illegal migrants increases, while the number of deports decreases.
Over the last five years, less than 10 percent of illegal immigrants from Guatemala were sent back to their home countries, according to Cronkite News. So far this year, 12,670 Guatemalan minors have entered the country illegally–but only 110 have been deported.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tracks the number of illegal crossers, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tracks the number of deportations. The Migration Policy Institute filed a Freedom of Information Act to obtain these figures, and subsequently reported that only 496 young migrants were deported to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in 2013; that number is significantly down from 2008, when less individuals illegally crossed the border but 2,311 youths were sent back to the same Central American countries.
Many immigrants are released onto U.S. soil by federal agents after being told to show up in court at a later date. 90 percent of the released individuals never bother to appear for their immigration court hearing, according to the Washington Examiner. This may be a contributing factor to the declining deportation numbers.
Victor Manjarrez–a professor at the University of Texas El Paso, former Chief Patrol Agent of Tucson Sector, and former Chief Patrol Agent in El Paso Sector–told Breitbart Texas, “Once [the immigrants] get processed, because there are not enough holding facilities, they’re scheduled for a hearing sometime in the future. They promise to show up then get released. They then [often] call up relatives in Central America and tell them they got released.”
Manjarrez added that after ignoring court orders to appear for immigration hearings, most of the released migrants end up being forgotten by authorities or get “lost in the woodwork.”
The low deportation numbers are surfaced as the Obama Administration is desperately attempting to tell populations in Central America that illegal crossers will not necessarily be allowed to remain in the U.S.
Vice President Joe Biden reportedly said in Guatemala last week, “Make no mistake, once an individual’s case is fully heard, and if he or she does not qualify for asylum, he or she will be removed from the United States and returned home.”
Biden’s message may be misleading, however, since most of the unaccompanied border minors will likely qualify for some form of asylum.
Breitbart Texas Contributing Editor and border security expert Sylvia Longmire wrote earlier this month, “Based on current immigration and asylum laws, the vast majority of those minors could be legally staying right here in the United States before long. … The odds of UACs being granted some kind of legal status to stay in the U.S. is very high.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.