Almost one million of the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States who have been ordered to be deported are still here. New documents have revealed that many of these immigrants are barely even hiding as the federal system remains overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases.
The documents show that approximately 900,000 undocumented immigrants ‒a figure that includes 170,000 with criminal convictions ‒ have been ordered to be deported from the United States in their absence, with many not showing up for their deportation hearings and possibly unaware of the result. Between July last year and May 2015 6,248 juveniles were ordered to be removed by immigration judges; however, 5,453 were ordered in absentia. 11,516 ‒10,436 in absentia ‒ undocumented adults were also ordered to be removed during this time period.
The Center for Immigration Studies director of policy studies, Jessica M Vaughn, says that a “kangaroo court” is the result when the great majority of deportation orders are never carried out, as even those immigrants who actually turn up for the hearings are told to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and instead simply vanish from the system.
“People don’t understand that in addition to public safety reasons, the detention system is needed to ensure the integrity of the system,” Vaughn notes. ”Immigration is a different kind of law – for the most part, the government has to have custody of the person to enforce it, because people just don’t comply on their own.”