Hans von Spakovsky reports at National Review’s Corner on our broken immigration court system:
On Thursday… the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law held a hearing of its own. Mark Metcalf, a former immigration judge, was one of the witnesses, and he had some startling testimony that went completely unnoticed by the media (full disclosure: Mark and I worked together at the Justice Department).
Mark Metcalf’s research on the deceptive statistics released by the Justice Department is quite shocking. From 1996 to 2008, the U.S. allowed 1.8 million aliens (many of them here illegally) to remain free upon their promise to appear in court when their cases were scheduled to be heard, and 736,000 of them never showed up for their hearings. After 9/11, court evasion by illegal aliens exploded — from 2002 to 2006, over 50 percent of all aliens summoned to court disappeared.
And then, for those who do show up …
Only 9 percent of aliens who lose their cases actually bother to appeal; most of them just walk away and disappear. Those dodging deportation orders issued by immigration judges number in the hundreds of thousands.
It’s not the fault of the judges.
…because the immigration judges are just administrative judges and employees of the Justice Department, they have no ability to enforce their orders. So enforcement of all of these deportation orders is left up to the whims of the political appointees who run DHS and set the priorities of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, and whose lackadaisical attitude is one of the reasons that Arizona felt compelled to act on its own.
It’s gotten worse since President Obama took office.
In August 2009, ICE announced it would not remove aliens who skipped court or disobeyed orders to leave the U.S., which gives even more incentives to illegal aliens to treat both our laws and our courts with contempt. So, as Mark pointedly says, “noncitizens who disobey immigration court orders are treated remarkably better than their citizen” counterparts in state and federal courts who are subject to arrest, contempt and incarceration for disobeying court orders.
As von Spakovsky comments, it’s appalling.