Over 7,000 immigrant kids get deportation orders without having their day in court

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Kids don't get a free pass in federal immigration court, according to recent statistics.


At least 7,706 children have been ordered deported since a spike in migrants from Central America began in 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

The minors were ordered removed from the country after failing to appear in court, the L.A. Times reported, citing data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.


In response to the soaring numbers of Central American children and families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally last summer, the Obama administration began speeding up deportations of new arrivals in June.

Some young immigrants may choose not to appear for a court date; indeed, it's a way to avoid the immediate threat of deportation.

But others may not be receiving proper notification. Attorneys told the L.A. Times that letters sent by mail are sometimes delivered to the wrong address or arrive late.

Kathryn Mattingly, a spokesperson for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, said immigrants who don't appear are ordered removed "when the immigration judge is satisfied that notice of the time and place of the proceeding was provided to the respondent at the address the respondent provided."


The Department of Homeland Security must also deem the person eligible for deportation, Mattingly told Fusion, although not all immigrants eligible for deportation are removed from the country.

She declined to comment on the notification letters, citing an ongoing lawsuit over legal representation for undocumented immigrant children.


The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the federal government on behalf of thousands of children who appear in immigration courts without a lawyer. A federal judge in Washington State will hear arguments on Friday from the government, which wants the case dismissed.

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m. ET: This post was updated with more detailed comment from Kathryn Mattingly, an EOIR spokesperson.


Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

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