Homeland Security acknowledges 70 percent of immigrant families fail to report to authorities
WASHINGTON (AP) — For nearly three months this summer, the Obama administration carefully avoided answering questions about what happened to tens of thousands of immigrant families caught illegally crossing the Mexican border and released into the United States with instructions to report back to immigration authorities.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and others said they faced deportation. But it turns out that tens of thousands of those immigrants did not follow the government's instructions to meet with federal immigration agents within 15 days. Instead, they have vanished into the interior of the U.S.
The Homeland Security Department privately acknowledged that about 70 percent of immigrant families failed to report as ordered. The disclosure came during a confidential meeting at its Washington headquarters with immigration advocates participating in a federal working group on detention and enforcement policies.
The Associated Press obtained an audio recording of Wednesday's meeting and separately interviewed participants.
On the recording, the government did not specify the total number of families released into the U.S. since October. Since only a few hundred families have already been returned to their home countries and limited U.S. detention facilities can house only about 1,200 family members, the 70 percent figure suggests the government released roughly 41,000 members of immigrant families who subsequently failed to appear at federal immigration offices.
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Posted on Fri, September 26, 2014
by Associated Press