Only 25 percent of all illegal immigrants in America detained and released pending trial under the “catch and release” system ever actually attend court, a new analysis of official government figures has revealed.
According to a survey carried out by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), American immigration courts “consistently have the highest failure to appear (FTA) rates of any state or federal courts in the country.”
According to the statistics, from 1996 through 2017, 37 percent of all aliens free pending trial disappeared. Of the 2,680,598 foreign nationals that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released on their own recognizance, 1,320,000, received deportation orders, 75 percent of them (993,593) for failure to appear.
Only 25 percent of this group — some 324,402 people altogether — actually tried their cases.
Immigration trial courts issued three times more deportation orders for failure to appear in court than deportation orders for cases that were actually tried (993,593 ÷ 324,402) over the last 22 fiscal years, the CIS report continued.
On average, more than 45,000 people each year disappeared from court since 1996, making failures to appear the single greatest source of deportation orders in the immigration court system.
“In any other court system, such dysfunction would cry for redress. Only in U.S. immigration courts can litigants literally abandon their cases without fear of incarceration or removal, while litigants in nearly any other state or federal court risk arrest, contempt, and new charges for the same conduct.
“Federal law — 18 U.S.C. § 3146 — imposes penalties from one year all the way to 15 years or more for absconding from a U.S. district court or circuit court of appeals. Not so in federal immigration courts.
“Rarely, if at all, are aliens held accountable for the same misconduct that in other court systems would land them —or citizens— in jail and in some instances brand them felons.
“Even more rarely are those who abscond from court ever found much less removed. A 2006 Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report summarized this perennial problem:
Historical trends indicate that 62 percent of the aliens released [from detention] will eventually be issued final orders of removal by the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and later fail to surrender for removal or abscond. … [I]t is unlikely that many of the released aliens will ever be removed.”