The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stopped the practice of releasing detained migrants at the border with orders to start their own deportation proceedings in the immigration court.
The Biden administration continues to expel tens of thousands of migrants arrested at the U.S – Mexico border under a Trump-era public health order. Depending on the capacity at border facilities and individual circumstances, some migrants are released only with a ‘notice to appear’, which is a document that instructs individuals to appear in immigration court on a specified date and begin the deportation process.
But earlier this year, to get migrants out of overwhelmed federal facilities faster, the US Border Patrol began releasing people found at the border without a ‘notice to appear’. Instead, the agents provided the migrants, many of them families, with ‘notices to report’, leaving the responsibility of initiating their own process before an immigration court to the migrants.
Republican opposition to emergency DHS measures
The practice generated broad condemnation from Republican sectors, who argued that the Biden administration would have no way of knowing the whereabouts of freed migrants in the country without giving them a ‘notice to appear’ or setting immigration court dates for their reappearance.
The government defended the practice of ad hoc processing arguing that the alternative was leaving migrants to inhuman overcrowding in federal facilities, that are already stretched to maximum capacity. Besides, border agents are barely capable of dealing of the high numbers of migrants attempting to cross the border during the recent months.
However, during a Senate panel hearing on Tuesday, Mayorkas said that from January 1 to October 31, US Customs and Border Protection issued 94,581 notices to report, adding that the practice has been “discontinued”. Migrants who are released in the future are likely to receive a ‘notice to appear’ in immigration court.
US immigration officials also recently began sending packages of legal documents to migrants who underwent this type of ad hoc processing. They are expected to include a ‘notice to appear’ and additional information about ICE processing.
“During the ICE appointment, ICE will review the case with the non-citizen, take biometrics and photos, and establish any ongoing registration requirements. Non-citizens must report to ICE and appear on the immigration court date designated as the party. of its immigration procedures to comply with US law.”ICE spokesmen declared in a statement.
What happens if the migrants do not appear in immigration court?
The operation has already raised concerns among immigration advocates and lawyers, who fear the packages will not reach the migrants, which could put them at risk of missing their court dates. If the migrants do not appear in immigration court on the designated dates, the immigration judges can order their removal.
“The main concern is that not only can addresses change, but these people may not even have a fixed address. It will be interesting to know if these immigration judges will order the removal of people in these circumstances.”Jeremy McKinney, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, noted.
There were more than 1.6 million arrests on the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2021, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Most were quickly expelled under the Trump-era public health order called Title 42, which the government has continued to enforce despite harsh criticism from allies and immigration advocates alike.
If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-5362!