90% of Asylum Seekers Don’t Attend Hearings Once Released into U.S., According to Acting Homeland Security Secretary

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testified before a Senate panel on the state of immigration in the U.S., including the fact that about 90% of asylum seekers miss their hearings once they are released into the U.S.
  • Responding to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s question about how many asylum seekers appear for their hearings, McAleenan answered: “It depends on demographic, the court, but we see too many cases where people are not showing up.
  • The acting secretary added: “Out of those 7,000 cases, 90 received final orders of removal in absentia, 90 percent.”
  • McAleenan also testified that Border Control is understaffed and underwhelmed as they deal with the growing border crisis that hasn’t shown signs of improving.
  • He said: “Currently due to a single district court order, we cannot obtain effective immigration enforcement results for the families arriving at our border — they cannot be held for longer than 21 days and do not receive rulings from immigration courts for years.”
  • In the past 40 days, McAleenan said that 60,000 minors have been taken into DHS custody.
  • McAleenan also testified that asylum seekers “suffer due to misaligned asylum standards, meaning many of those who demonstrate credible fear of returning home — the initial bar for claiming asylum — are later judged not to have a valid asylum claim.”
  • McAleenan testified that Congress needs to provide additional DHS funding and close loopholes in the immigration system “and suggested that moves to make asylum seekers claim asylum in their home countries or designated third-countries could help solve the crisis.”
  • Graham’s “Secure and Protect Act of 2019” would “include a provision to establish refugee processing centers in Mexico and Central America.”
  • McAleenan said he thinks the act would be effective: “First of all, it would break the back of the smuggling organizations, they’re profiting from this cycle. It would provide access to asylum in country in a much safer manner than taking this dangerous journey and it would stop this flow immediately.”
  • He added: “I believe the vast majority [of the migrant flow] would stop.”
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection calls the border situation a “full-blown emergency” after detaining around 144,000 immigrants trying to cross the U.S. border in May.

Reference Links

  • Fox: DHS chief reveals startling stat on asylum seekers who skip hearings, disappear READ
  • PBS NewsHour: WATCH LIVE: Acting Homeland Security head Kevin McAleenan goes before Senate committee READ
  • CBS: Homeland Security chief McAleenan testifies on legislative fix for “border crisis” — live stream READ
  • OAN: McAleenan: DHS Needs Help, Sen. Graham’s Border Proposal Would Help Stem Crisis READ

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