- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tens of thousands of illegal immigrant families surged into the U.S. in 2014. Nearly 90% of them are still here, officials said Tuesday.

The stark numbers came as Homeland Security officials pushed back on claims — most recently made by Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden — that illegal immigrants show up for their hearings and abide by the process.

In fact, the officials said, over the first nine months of fiscal year 2020, more than 85,000 people didn’t show up for those hearings.

And even those that do show up often refuse to leave when they lose their cases.

Of more than 67,000 family migrants nabbed in 2014, more than 60,000 were are still in the U.S., six years later. And of the families who came in 2017, more than 98% were still in the country a year later, Homeland Security officials said.a

“What the numbers show is they do not abide by the rulings of that process,” said acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.

In last week’s presidential debate President Trump said less than 1% show up. Mr. Biden insisted that most do.

“If in fact you had a family came across and they were arrested, they in fact were given a date to show up for their hearing. They were released. And guess what? They showed up for a hearing,” Mr. Biden said.

The reality is somewhere in between, though Mr. Trump was closer.

Homeland Security officials said Tuesday that a pilot program run in 10 cities specifically for illegal immigrant families showed that about two-thirds were sentenced in absentia, meaning they ditched out at some point on the process.

When the entire illegal immigrant population, not just families, is counted, 85,000 people ditched out on their hearings from Oct. 1 through June 30. By contrast, in the whole year of 2008, just 27,000 migrants ducked their hearings and were ordered deported in absentia.

“The problem has literally gotten more than four times as bad,” Mr. Cuccinelli said.

The Washington Times has reached out to Mr. Biden’s campaign for a response.

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