Measuring In Absentia Removal in Immigration Court

Ingrid Eagly, Esq. and Steven Shafer, Esq.
Date of Publication: 
January, 2021
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

Do immigrants attend their immigration court hearings? This question is central to current debates about the immigration court system. Contrary to claims by the government that most immigrants fail to appear in immigration court, our analysis of data provided by the federal government reveals that 83% of all nondetained immigrants with completed or pending removal cases from Fiscal Years (FY) 2008 through 2018 attended all of their court hearings. Among those who were represented by counsel during the same time period, 96% attended all of their court hearings. Moreover, we reveal that 15% of those who were ordered deported because they didn’t appear in court successfully reopened their cases and had their removal orders rescinded. This crucial finding suggests that many individuals who fail to appear in court wanted to attend their hearings but never received notice or faced hardship in getting to court.

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Eagly, I. & Shafer, S. (2021, January). Measuring In Absentia Removal in Immigration Court. Migration Policy Institute.