New DOJ Stats Confirm Old Pattern: Central Americans No-Shows in Immigration Court

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

June 29, 2015

Since I have sisters, nieces and nephews who live in Guatemala, I’m privy to information about just how much – or how little – violence occurs in the country and throughout Central America. A credible fear of violence is the reason given to immigration officials by 70 percent of Central American families who surge the Mexico-U.S. border.

My family tells me that there’s no more or less violence in Guatemala today than in years past. They confirmed to me what I already know: the real reason so many Central Americans come north is because they’re certain that they can stay. And the migrants also understand that their assigned court dates, cynically referred to by border patrol agents as “run letters,” to appear before an immigration judge are a sham.

According to new data obtained by Fox News from the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, a majority of alien adults with children released pending their court dates did not appear, have vanished into the general public and will likely spend the rest of their lives in the U.S. unless they decide to voluntarily self-deport.

Since July 18, 2014, the date Obama declared Central American illegal immigration to be an enforcement priority, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained 83,385 adults and children, and immigration courts completed 24,842 cases. Of those, more than 64 percent, or 16,136, didn't show up for court, and fewer than 4 percent, or 908, agreed to leave voluntarily.

Among adults with children not detained, 25,000 have had their initial appearance; 13,000 are still in the system, and 12,000 have had their cases completed. Of the cases completed, 10,000 failed to appear.

Among those families who were allowed to remain free after their initial appearance in court, 84 percent vanished. Almost all of those detained, however, did show up before a judge.

The statistics beg the questions: Should unlawful immigrants be released because, as advocates claim, detention centers are inhumane, and the aliens are longing to be American citizens? Or should the illegal immigrants be detained so that a judge can make a fair ruling on their immigration status?

For the aliens, their odds of remaining improve when they’re no-shows. They have little chance of being deported, can flee to sanctuary cities where they might be able to get a job, a driver’s license and, if they’re lucky, qualify for amnesty either during this administration or a future one. Their choice to stay unlawfully is an easy one to make, and one that the Obama administration’s failure to enforce immigration laws has enabled.

Source: The Atlantic
Most Central American illegal migrants are no-shows in immigration court, per new DOJ report, and the number of illegal crossers continues to ramp up.

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