ICE To Send Documents To 78,000 Illegal Migrants Who Were Released Into US Without Court Dates

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced a plan to send court documents to 78,000 illegal migrants who were released into the U.S. after crossing the southern border this year, CBS News reported on Tuesday.

The documents describe court hearings where migrants can make their cases to stay in the country to an immigration judge, according to CBS News. The documents will include notices to appear and other information typically issued during regular processing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) “Operation Horizon” will target tens of thousands of migrants who weren’t fully processed at the southern border for deportation proceedings, CBS News reported.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is mailing charging documents to place noncitizens in removal proceedings who have been paroled or released under prosecutorial discretion by Customs and Border Protection (CBP),” the agency said in a statement to CBS News. “Noncitizens are being directed to their closest ICE Field Office and will be processed using the information collected by CBP as evidence of citizenship and removability.”

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Illegal migrants are usually given notices to appear in immigration court after crossing the southern border if they’re not taken into federal custody, according to CBS News. If a migrant fails to show up for their court date, the judge can place them into deportation proceedings.

Immigration officials couldn’t keep up with the paperwork required to issue formal notices to appear for tens of thousands of migrants who crossed the border starting in March, so they gave out notices to appear instead, CBS News reported. Notices to report direct migrants to check in with an ICE office within 60 days of receipt to officially start their proceedings.

Notices to appear take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes to complete per individual while notices to report only take officials around 10 minutes to issue, according to CBS News. The notice to report doesn’t officially start a migrant’s immigration proceedings and doesn’t have a negative effect in itself.

Border officials encountered more than 1.7 million migrants at the southern border between September 2020 and September 2021, according to CBP data. Around 61% of the migrants who were taken into custody were expelled to Mexico or other home countries, CBS News reported.

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