The Corner

Immigration Absconders

Anyone concerned about immigration should read a guest column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by my former Justice Department colleague Mark Metcalf, a former immigration judge who was in the heart of the federal immigration-enforcement process.

He points out that in its 2008 annual report, the Department of Homeland Security reported that “558,000 fugitive aliens — those who fled court or disobeyed order to leave — had avoided removal.” Despite the Obama administration’s claims about stepped up enforcement:

[T]his number has grown. Some 715,000 people now reside in the U.S. that DHS refuses to deport. In one year, unenforced deportation orders have climbed 28 percent. And the numbers keep climbing.

According to Mark, millions of illegal immigrants can avoid deportation because “DHS declines to enforce valid removal orders, discourages routine police reports and dismisses cases it was prosecuting.” Even worse, Mark says, the Justice Department has been misrepresenting the numbers reported to Congress about the aliens handled by the administrative immigration courts. In 2009, for example, Justice claimed “only 11 percent of aliens dodged court” when, in fact, “32 percent of aliens disappeared before trial.”

What we discover about the federal government’s handling of the immigration-enforcement problem just gets worse every day.


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