Nearly Half of Unaccompanied Alien Children Were No-Shows for Final Court Hearing

Brittany M. Hughes | October 6, 2015
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(Photo Credit: Eric Gay/The Associated Press)

If getting to the U.S. border is difficult, it looks like getting to a local immigration court might be even harder.

It turns out about 45 percent of unaccompanied children (UCs) whose cases have already been heard by an immigration judge weren’t in court when their final case ruling was handed down, according to the most recent government data.

In recent data provided to MRCTV, the Executive Office for Immigration Review reports it received 38,211 new charging documents for unaccompanied alien children who crossed the border between July 18, 2014, and Aug. 25 of this year. In those 13 months, EOIR has closed 14,613 of these cases.

The EOIR stated that 7,571 cases resulted in removal orders. Of these, 6,611 of them were handed down in absentia, meaning the child wasn’t in court for the final ruling. These in absentia orders account for nearly half of all UC case closings so far, and about 87 percent of all UC removal orders.

Another 3,964 cases ended in administrative closings, while 2,364 were terminated. Only 512 cases ended in voluntary departures.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports 35,494 unaccompanied children have crossed the Southwest U.S. border illegally between Oct. 1 of last year and Aug. 31. 

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