The Corner

National Security & Defense

Without Detention There Is No Immigration Enforcement

A new GAO report on last year’s surge of “unaccompanied” “minors” from Central America listed some of the reasons that U.S. government officials had identified for the flow. Among them:

Honduran youth and coordinators of community centers who were interviewed as part of a USAID focus group indicated they believed the United States would allow migrant minors, mothers traveling with minors, and pregnant women to stay for a period of time upon arrival in the United States.

As if to confirm the portion I emphasized above in bold, a federal judge ruled recently that the handful of “mothers traveling with minors” who weren’t released immediately after turning themselves in – i.e., those few held in family detention centers pending the resolution of their cases – must be let go. The judge said the accommodations weren’t up to snuff.

Mind you, no one in immigration detention is denied his liberty – they are denied only access to the United States. They remain in detention only because they refuse to return home and have instead chosen to try to finagle the right to stay here via the courts.

The anti-borders advocacy groups, figuring that they’re on a roll, have objected even to the use of ankle monitors to keep track of the illegal alien adults until their court dates.

This matters because illegal aliens are the platonic ideal of a flight risk. That is to say, once you’ve been allowed into the U.S., there is no downside whatsoever if you simply ignore your immigration court date. From last July through this May, fully 84 percent of “mothers traveling with minors” never showed up for their hearings. Though no-shows at immigration court are ordered deported in absentia, that just means if ICE ever catches up with them, the same thing will happen to them as if they hadn’t run off in the first place – they’ll be sent home. As a former immigration judge notes, “In any other court, disobedience to court orders results in arrest, contempt, and incarceration. Not so in immigration courts. Rarely, if at all, are aliens held accountable for the same conduct that would place a citizen in jail.”

This is why there are some 900,000 illegal aliens who’ve ignored deportation orders and remained here illegally – something they were able to do only because they were not detained. And ICE was prohibited in Obama’s November amnesty decrees from deporting any illegal-alien absconders who ran off before January 2014.

You can demand all the fencing you want on the Mexican border, but it doesn’t matter much when the executive branch waves people across the border, doesn’t detain them pending removal, doesn’t bother looking for them when they fail to appear for their hearings, and then exempts them from deportation even after they’re ordered deported.


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