Lakewood federal facility being readied for surge in UAC child migrants

Article publisher: 
Denver Post
Article date: 
28 January 2016
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 
As federal officials prepare for a new wave of child migrants [Unaccompanied Alien Children] from Central America — which includes the opening of a new, 1,000-bed facility in Lakewood — new statistics show that U.S. courts still are trying to process cases from the last major surge in 2014.
That year, an estimated 68,000 children — mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — were apprehended as they tried to cross the U.S. border illegally and without a parent.
Many of these cases remain under review, according to federal records, and the backlog in immigration courts could get worse as authorities deal with thousands of new children who arrived at the end of 2015...
Between July 2014 and December, the Executive Office for Immigration Review said it received nearly 50,000 new charging documents for migrant children. During that period, however, fewer than 21,000 cases were completed.
Of those "initial case completions," the decisions were a coin flip: About half the children were ordered removed from the country. It's a system that immigration attorneys said is often unfair and one that federal statistics show is burdened by demand and uncertainty.
For example, in 8,510 of the 9,695 removal cases — or 88 percent — the orders were issued in absentia, meaning the children weren't at the hearing...
Court statistics have shown a child's chance to remain in the U.S. largely is dependent on whether he or she is represented by an attorney. Between 2005 and 2014, U.S. immigration courts heard more than 100,000 cases of unaccompanied children...
As of December, there were nearly 470,000 cases of all ages pending in U.S. immigration courts — an all-time high...
One reason for the growing caseload was the flood of child migrants [UACs] who arrived in 2014.
A new influx is raising concerns again.
In the last three months of 2015, authorities stopped more than 17,000 unaccompanied children — more than twice the number they apprehended during that period in 2014...


CAIRCO Research