WASHINGTON, D.C. (Worthy News)-- A top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday saying that 87 percent of illegal alien children are still in immigration court without a decision as to their final status.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va), House Judiciary Chairman, held a hearing to raise national security concerns over the recent surge of illegal aliens entering the United States.
Once the illegal immigrants are picked up by ICE, "they are given a court date, expected to return, a year or more later," said Goodlatte. "The overwhelming majority of them, more than 90 percent, do not return for their hearings and as a result we have a problem," he added.
Thomas Homan, executive associate director for ICE, enforcement and removal operations, testified that only 1,800 illegal alien children were removed last year.
"I can say that every unaccompanied child and every family unit member are served with NTAs (notice to appear) and scheduled to be put in front of an immigration judge, so that they have their proceedings scheduled, but it's years out. There's a lack of immigration judges, so some of these hearings take years. It can take two years. It can take five years," Homan testified before the committee.
"When we looked at all the unaccompanied alien children that were, NTAs were filed with the immigration court in the last five years, 87 percent of them are still in proceedings. We have no final orders," Thomas Homan added.
Since October, over 52,000 illegal immigrant children have been apprehended by Border Patrol agents. While all children face deportation, it will take years before any action will be taken since federal immigration courts face a backlog of more than 360,000 cases.