Most unaccompanied immigrant children attending deportation hearings

Most unaccompanied immigrant children and teens who have been apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are showing up for their deportation hearings, according to the federal agency that oversees the nation’s immigration courts.

Between July 18 and Sept. 30, 85 percent of them showed up as required for their first appearances in court, called “master calendar hearings,” according to the U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review.

During that same time frame, the courts received 10,041 cases involving unaccompanied children. Of those, 7,131 had their first hearings and 1,035 were ordered deported in absentia for not showing up.

Meanwhile, federal immigration authorities are apprehending fewer of them on the southwest border. Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson disclosed that 2,424 had been arrested there last month. That is the lowest number apprehended since January of last year.

In all, 68,551 were apprehended on the southwest border during the fiscal year that ended last month, a 77 percent increase over the year before. During the first eight months of this year, 1,623 of the children and teens have been placed in the care of sponsors in Georgia.

“Though the worst is over for now — from the spike this summer and the high in illegal migration 15 years ago – the president and I are committed to building an even more secure border, and a smart strategy to get there,” Johnson told the Center for Strategic and International Studies Thursday.

“Much of illegal migration is seasonal. The spike in migration we saw this summer could return. The poverty and violence that are the ‘push factors’ in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador still exist. The economy in this country — a ‘pull factor’ — is getting better.”

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