TUCSON, Arizona — On October 7, the Wall Street Journal published a story that stated the vast majority of migrants who recently entered the US illegally are showing up for their scheduled deportation hearings. Specifically, it said between July 18 and September 30, about 85% of unaccompanied minors showed up for their scheduled first hearing, and the data was provided by the Executive Office for Immigration Review. However, a September 26 story from the Associated Press said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged roughly 70% of recently arrived immigrant families failed to report in as ordered to immigration officers within 15 days of their arrival.
The AP report also cited a statistic from the Executive Office for Immigration Review that said, “Overall about 25 percent of immigrants facing deportation do not show up for court hearings.” However, that contradicts the data in the WSJ report that says 15% don’t show up for their hearings.
On September 25, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen emailed a statement to the AP that said the no-show figure represented “an approximate snapshot” of cases since May 2014, and that some people may still report to immigration court hearings. She added that a “significant” number of deportation cases are still pending before judges.
Immigrant advocates have questioned whether immigration officials had clearly and properly instructed immigrants to meet with federal agents within 15 days. That visit is a completely separate requirement from the mandated court appearance. There is no indication in either the WSJ or AP report that the immigrants would pay any sort of consequence for not complying with the visit order. Many who do not appear for their court hearing, however, receive a deportation order in absentia from the immigration judge.
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about Mexico’s drug cartels and their illicit activities in her new book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.