The cases of more than 56,000 Central American immigrants who entered the United States illegally since 2014 have been delayed for several years.
The New York Times, which broke the story, reported on October 6 that the delayed cases involve nearly half of the Central Americans who came to the United States as families, and almost a quarter of the total number of Central Americans who entered this country illegally since 2014. The Times cited figures from the Justice Department.
The report cited statements from unnamed federal officials who justified the delayed cases as a cost-saving measure, the savings coming from not having to pay daily fees of $4 to $8 per day for each person being monitored by means of GPS ankle bracelets.
The Times noted that the Department of Homeland Security began using such GPS ankle monitors in 2015 after determining that many recent immigrants were not appearing in immigration court as required, citing Sarah Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
However, noted the report, ICE officials acknowledged that aliens whose cases were being delayed might also fail to appear in court.
Because of the long delays in hearing the cases, some lawyers who had offered their services to illegal aliens on a pro bono basis are faced with the unanticipated dilemma of waiting on standby for years.
The report quoted a statement from Eleni Wolfe-Roubatis, the immigration program director at the Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, California, which arranges such pro-bono legal services for immigrants.
“We can’t take on someone else who is on a waiting list because someone we thought was going to be completed is now still our case for four years,” said Wolfe-Roubatis. She said dozens of her cases had been pushed to as late as 2020.
The Times report described this newly revealed administration policy of delaying deportations as “an unannounced departure from the administration’s widely publicized pronouncements that cases tied to the so-called surge of 2014 would be rushed through the immigration courts in an effort to deter more Central Americans from entering the United States illegally” and provided a link to a June 20, 2014 Times article about a White House announcement to that effect.
The article quoted from a conference call that Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, had with reporters, in which she said that the administration was moving to “push back” on “misinformation that is being deliberately planted by criminal organizations, by smuggling networks, about what people can expect if they come to the United States.”
In that article two years ago, the Times said that the White House had announced plans to detain more of the Central American aliens and to accelerate their court cases so as to deport them more quickly.
Among the steps promised by the White House and other federal officials were a move by DHS officials to quickly open more detention centers intended for families with children caught coming illegally to this country, and the expanded use of monitoring devices, such as electronic ankle bracelets, to keep track of migrants after they are released.
The report said the administration also promised that immigration officers and judges would be reassigned on an emergency basis to speed up cases in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where most of the migrants were entering illegally.
While the latest Times article said that the large number of deportation cases now being delayed amounted to “an unannounced departure” from the Obama administration’s promises back in 2014 to speed up the processing of deportation cases, subsequent events indicate that those promises were empty ones.
On June 20, 2014, the same day that the Times reported the White House plans to detain more Central American aliens and to speed up their court case, we posted an article in which we quoted Stu Harris, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 1929 in El Paso, Texas, who said that said that the continually worsening crisis along the U.S.-Mexican border was the result of the U.S. government granting “de facto amnesty” to illegal immigrants.
Speaking with Breitbart Texas, Harris provided his take on the vast increase in illegal cross-border traffic: “This situation is de facto amnesty. The word has gotten out that we will simply release people into the US if enough of them come at once. The result is that they are doing it.”
During a meeting in Guatemala on June 20, 2014, with Guatamala’s President Otto Pérez Molina; the president of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén; and senior officials from Honduras and Mexico, Vice President Joe Biden ignored the importance of border security and swift deportation of illegal aliens and emphasized the social causes of the large-scale migration.
“The United States recognizes that a key part of the solution to this problem is to address the root causes of this immigration in the first place,” said Biden. “Especially poverty, insecurity and the lack of the rule of law, so the people can stay and thrive in their own communities, so a parent doesn’t feel so desperate that they put their child in the hands of a criminal network and say take him, and take her to the United States.”
However Harris strongly disagreed with that explanation of causes of the illegal immigration crisis that was often presented by the media:
A lot of the media is saying these people are coming because of economic crisis and violence in their home countries, but these conditions have existed for more than a decade. The only thing that has changed is the talk of immigration reform and amnesty. That is what is bringing these people here now.
We noted in our article two years ago that the illegal immigrants, including children, were simply responding to the Obama administration policy of not securing the border and then granting effective amnesty to the migrants by housing them instead of deporting them.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) posted a statement about the crisis on his Senate webpage on June 3, 2014 that confirmed that view, stating in part:
The rising crisis at the border is the direct and predictable result of actions taken by President Obama. He and his Administration have announced to the world that they will not enforce America’s immigration laws, and have emphasized in particular that foreign youth will be exempted from these laws. The world has heard the President’s call, and illegal immigrants are pouring across the border in pursuit of his promised amnesty.
Although Sessions’ statement was made a few weeks before the White House promised to devote more resources to detain more of the Central American aliens and to accelerate their court cases so as to deport them more quickly, those promises have produced little results. As we noted in another article posted last February, Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on February 4 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Attorney’s office have come up with a new policy that undermines immigration law enforcement. The policy, said Judd, makes it mandatory for Border Patrol agents to release — without a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an immigration judge — any person they arrest for being in the country illegally. Furthermore, noted Judd, this policy is in effect as long as the aliens do not have a previous felony arrest conviction and as long as they claim to have been continuously in the United States since January 2014.
Furthermore, complained Judd, “Immigration laws today appear to be mere suggestions” and “there are little or no consequences for breaking the laws and that fact is well known in other countries. If government agencies like DHS or CBP are allowed to bypass Congress by legislating through policy, we might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether.”
This history of non-enforcement of our nation's immigration laws indicates that the delay of deportation hearings just reported by the Times, far from being a departure from the administration’s promises to adjudicate cases tied to the illegal alien surge more efficiently, is merely a continuation of “business as usual” for the Obama White House.