More than 40,000 unskilled Central American migrants who were allowed to cross the border by President Barack Obama’s deputies have refused to appear for scheduled meetings with immigration officials.
The estimate was revealed to Latino lobbies in a meeting with an official at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the Associated Press.
The official said that 70 percent of the 66,000 people in so-called “family units” that crossed the border didn’t turn up for the appointments, according to an audio recording of the official’s briefing.
The missing migrants crossed into the country alongside the much-publicized arrival of 65,000 “unaccompanied alien children” since October.
The “children” were highlighted by the administration to reduce the public’s hostile reaction to Obama’s lax border policies.
In fact, most of the 65,000 “children” are older youths seeking to join relatives or parents living illegally in the United States. Most of them were guided by paid coyotes to the border, where they were handed over to federal agencies for free transport to their parents or relatives.
None of the unaccompanied youths have been deported. All have been allowed to use a 2008 law to file lawsuits for residency. Up to 80 percent of migrants who have immigration lawyers can win their residency cases, say advocates for more immigration.
Obama allowed the youths to use the 2008 law — even though it passed Congress to protect teenage prostitutes, not to aid young economic migrants.
Obama also allowed the “family unit” migrants to apply for green cards, even though he has the legal authority to repatriate them anytime.
The planned appointments are part of the long green card legal process that might allow the low-skill migrants to claim citizenship and full access to U.S. benefit programs.
The AP also reported that only 860 people in “family units” have been ordered home.
But only 14 have given themselves up for repatriation, the AP reports.
The remaining 846 are blending into the large communities of illegal immigrants throughout the country.
Unless Obama reverses his enforcement policies, the missing 40,000 “family unit” migrants won’t be pursued, and will be allowed to attend schools, receive medical aid and be allowed to work in the United States.
That’s because Obama has sharply reduced immigration enforcement for migrants who settle far from the border. In 2013, his deputies deported less than 0.2 percent of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country for violating immigration laws.
Obama’s deputies also allowed more than 50,000 Central American migrants to cross the U.S. border between 2009 and October 2013.
The total inflow amounts to more than 200,000, and it is expected to keep rising in the next few months.
The border meltdown backfired on Obama, because it galvanized widespread public opposition to the Senate’s June 2013 immigration bill. Obama strongly supported the bill, which would have boosted the inflow of foreign workers up to roughly 4 million per year. That inflow would have been roughly equal to the number of Americans who enter the workforce every year.
The GOP blocked the bill, and now Obama is threatening to provide work permits and residency permits to several million illegal immigrants though executive power in December.