Releasing migrants without court dates is a ‘systemic failure,’ immigration experts say

Nicole Silverio, DCNF

Releasing illegal immigrants without scheduled court dates is a failure of the immigration system, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Border patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector have been releasing adult migrants out of detention facilities without an official notice to appear because of the overfilled detention facilities, agents told Fox News. Immigrants often face obstacles in arriving at court even with a notice to appear.

“It’s almost entirely a systemic failure,” Ahilan Arulanantham, an immigration expert at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, told the DCNF. “If you just give them [illegal immigrants] a piece of paper and tell them to come to court, a lot will fail to do that.”

Arulanantham said immigrants had been released without a notice to appear long before President Joe Biden’s presidency. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have frequently arrested immigrants for failure to show up to their court date when they check in with ICE agents, he said.

“If you want to make sure they [immigrants] appear you have to provide legal representation and intensive supervision,” Arulanantham told the DCNF.

Only 37% of immigrants and 15% of detainees show up to court with a lawyer, according to a 2016 American Immigration Council (AIC) study.

The percentage of immigrants who show up to court is 83%, and that rate increases to 97% if they have an attorney, according to AIC.

Arulanantham said that many illegal immigrants do not speak English or know that there are multiple agencies around the country if they move away from border cities. Roughly one-third of illegal immigrants are proficient in English, according to the Pew Research Center.

Ira Mehlman, media director at the Federation For American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told the DCNF that releasing immigrants without notices to appear is a result of Biden’s immigration policies.

“The policy of releasing people without even the formality of issuing them notices to appear (that few of them are likely to show up for anyway) just compounds his administration’s self-induced crisis,” Mehlman said. “It is just one more signal that the border is open in spite of the president and Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas claiming that it isn’t.”

House Republicans wrote a letter to Mayorkas Tuesday requesting answers regarding immigrants being released without court dates, Fox News reported. Rather than Border Patrol agents issuing immigrants notices to appear, the undocumented migrant’s information is recorded through biometrical data including fingerprints and photographs.

The lawmakers demanded answers on the number of immigrants released, whether they were eligible to work and if they fear prosecution, according to the letter.

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