After thousands of immigrant families were caught trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security said many of them failed to report to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement like they were told to do. According to the Associated Press, these undocumented immigrants were told to report to federal immigration agents within 15 days of being apprehended. Instead, officials said about 70 percent of those families have failed to do so.
The information was revealed during a confidential meeting at the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. The source said immigration advocates attended the meeting as they were there to work on detention and enforcement policies.
The source said the total number of families who have been permitted to enter the U.S. after being apprehended at the U.S. border since October 2013 was not released. However, it is estimated that as many as 41,000 undocumented immigrants are living in the U.S. and have failed to appear at federal immigration offices.
A few hundred families have been deported and returned to their home countries, and approximately 1,200 family members have been sent to U.S. detention facilities. The source also reported that at least 860 people have been given a final deportation order, but only 14 of them have reported thus far.
Data from the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review found that approximately 25 percent of immigrants who are at risk of being deported don’t show up for their court hearings. A spokeswoman from Immigration and Customs Enforcement said these numbers are an “approximate snapshot,” and there is a large number of deportation cases that are still pending and others individuals who may still show up to their court hearings.
According to the source, immigration advocates argue that detention centers are punishing undocumented immigrants who may eventually win their asylum claims and be granted permission to remain in the U.S. Officials from ICE said it is important to encourage undocumented immigrants to report to federal agents so the government can possibly help them remain in the U.S.