By Salvador Rizzo, The Washington Post
As the Trump administration calls for tighter immigration laws, officials from the president on down claim almost all migrants are gaming the system because they fail to show up for court.
The nation’s nearly 400 immigration judges are under a mountain of backlogged cases, and hundreds of thousands of Central Americans continue to arrive at the border each year. Because of a lack of holding capacity and a court settlement requiring the release of children, U.S. immigration authorities allow many migrant families into the country while they wait for hearings.
On CBS, Vice President Mike Pence recently claimed that “the vast majority” never show up. On CNN, he said the rate of no-shows was “plus-90 percent.”
The rate of no-shows is far below 90 percent, according to the Department of Justice’s most recent annual figures. When using the Justice Department’s preferred metric, 44 percent of migrants who were not in custody failed to show up for their court proceedings.
That’s half the rate Pence claimed. And some researchers say that the Justice Department numbers don’t tell the whole story and that the real rate is less than 44 percent.