An investigative report aired last week shows that only a small percentage of those who crossed the border during the 2012-2014 "surge" are being returned to their home countries, despite the Obama administration's claims that the cases are a priority.
According to immigration court records obtained by KPRC-NBC for their report, 92 percent of of the those who crossed the border illegally have absconded from their court proceedings after release and joined the resident illegal population, where they are no longer a priority for enforcement under the new, expanded "prosecutorial discretion" policies.
The report states:
Of the 15,614 families caught crossing the border, but not detained, 4,197 have been ordered removed from the U.S. However, 96 percent of those removal orders were done "in absentia."
The EOIR [Executive Office of Immigration Review] states an "in absentia" order is done when a person fails to show in immigration court.
Out of the 1,428 families caught crossing the border and detained, 21 have been ordered removed. Forty-three percent of these orders were done "in absentia."
Of the 13,425 unaccompanied children caught crossing the border between July and October, 1,671 have been ordered removed from the U.S. Ninety-two percent of these orders were done "in absentia."
From the report, the Center for Immigration Studies has determined:
- The number of family units arriving illegally was larger than the number of UACs during this time period, although the administration, its allies, and the media typically described the surge as an influx of children.
- At least 92 percent of the family arrivals in this sample of cases were released after apprehension rather than detained in the border area.
- Nearly all of those released (5,575 out of 6,093 total families and UACs, or 91 percent) subsequently failed to appear at their immigration hearings and are now part of the illegal population.
- According to these figures, 43 percent of those family members classified as "detained" (nine people) also failed to appear for their hearings, suggesting that they actually were released at some point.
- Even under the current very generous interpretations of immigration law, only 3 percent of these illegal aliens were found qualified to stay in the United States (204 out of 6,093 completed cases).
- Only 314 of the 6,093 cases completed (5 percent) were present for their hearing and could actually be removed by authorities after receiving the order from the judge.
Jessica Vaughan, the Center’s Director of Policy Studies, writes, “It's not clear to me what is smart or effective about a massive and costly catch-and-release scheme that has resulted in the illegal resettlement of tens of thousands of illegal aliens, with taxpayers now picking up the tab for schooling, health care, housing, public safety, and other expenses, and which has only increased the incentives for more people to try to enter illegally.”
The report is comprised of statistics from the immigration courts on 30,467 cases of families and unaccompanied alien children (UACs) who arrived illegally between July 18 and October 28, 2014.
Updated: Mon, Jan 12th 2015 @ 12:50pm EST