Headline RoundupFebruary 5th, 2023

Nearly 600,000 Unauthorized Migrants Released Into US Without Court Date Since March 2021

AllSides Summary

Amid changes in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protocols, nearly 600,000 unauthorized migrants remain released in the U.S. without a court date.

The Details: Since March 2021, roughly 800,000 unauthorized migrants entered the U.S. without being given a court date. About 214,000 were eventually issued charging documents, leaving roughly 588,000 who were never told when or where to report for an asylum hearing. As a result, many live in legal limbo.

For Context: ICE began new methods for processing immigrants in March 2021 amid a surge in crossings. Migrants were previously released with a "Notice to Appear" on a specific date in court. ICE changed to issuing migrants a “Notice to Report,” instructing them to report back to an ICE officer. The change places less pressure on migrants to go through the legal system, and might make it more difficult for migrants to file for asylum within the one-year window of eligibility they are granted by U.S. law.

How the Media Covered It: The data was originally obtained and published by NBC News, so other coverage is somewhat derivative of that original story. NBC's report highlighted how 99.4% of unauthorized migrants show up for their first court date. Conversely, Washington Examiner noted that as of Jan. 2022, 47,000 migrants released without court dates never reported back to ICE. This story was not widely covered, and AllSides has been unable to find coverage from a Center-rated source.

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