Immigration Detention: Necessary for Due Process, Public Safety

by Marguerite Telford –
Center for Immigration Studies –

WASHINGTON, DC (June 24, 2015) — Changes to immigration detention policy that will contribute to the deterioration of enforcement were announced today by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies finds that immigration detention is necessary to ensure that due process is completed for illegal aliens who are discovered in the interior or who are not quickly repatriated after apprehension at the border. Failure to make use of detention has produced a population of more than 900,000 alien fugitives in the country who have absconded from their court hearings or have failed to report for removal after having been ordered to do so by a judge – that’s about one in 12 illegal aliens.

Newly released immigration court statistics revealed that 84 percent of adult Central American illegal aliens who arrived in the recent surge and who were released instead of detained did not show up for their immigration hearing. In contrast, 29 percent of aliens who spent at least some time in custody absconded from their hearing.

Detention often serves public safety, because many of the aliens taken into detention and charged with civil deportation violations are convicted criminals. Once released, many of these individuals re-offend.

View the entire report at: http://www.cis.org/Why-Alien-Detention-Is-Necessary

Dan Cadman, a Center fellow and author of the report, said, “The Secretary may think he has disposed of the issue of family detention and obviated ongoing federal litigation related to the issue, but he hasn’t. Given the no-show rates at court hearings of families, many will be ordered deported in absentia, and sooner or later they will be picked up by immigration agents. At this point the aliens will have shown they cannot be trusted to appear for removal, so detention will almost certainly be the only recourse if they are truly to be removed as ordered by the immigration judge.”

The administration’s policies to minimize the use of detention for families may lead prospective illegal crossers to use children as shields to gain release after apprehension, putting the children in danger in the process.

Contact: Marguerite Telford
202-466-8185, mrt@cis.org

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation’s only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.

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