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House GOP investigates failures leading to 200,000 deportation case dismissals

U.S. House Republicans are demanding answers from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as to why more than 200,000 deportation cases were dismissed.

A new report published by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University found that 200,000 deportation cases were dismissed because DHS employees or Border Patrol agents didn’t file the proper paperwork with the courts in time for scheduled hearings.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock, R-California, launched an investigation this week. They sent letters to Mayorkas and to Mary Cheng, acting director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), demanding information.

TRAC researchers evaluated data from January 2021 through February 2024 to determine the number of cases that were dismissed due to Notice to Appear documents not being filed with courts. One of the policies implemented by Mayorkas for which he was impeached relates to changing the detention and removal process. This included mass releasing illegal foreign nationals into the country who were given NTAs and told to appear before an immigration court at a date several years into the future.

By law, DHS is required to file NTAs with the court listed on them. Once filed, removal proceedings officially begin. If NTAs aren’t filed, the removal process doesn’t begin. If a hearing is scheduled before an NTA is filed, the case is thrown out and a new NTA must be filed. According to the report, of the data evaluated, NTAs were only refiled in 25% of the dismissed cases.

TRAC researchers said “the almost total lack of transparency on where and why these DHS failures occurred” is “troubling.”

They also said they weren’t able to obtain information “on just which agency created and issued these NTAs. While we suspect that most are created by Border Patrol agents, and thus should be filed with the court by Customs and Border Protection, we don’t know if the problem is concentrated there, and if so, which sectors and specific locations are most responsible.”

The greatest number of dismissals were in Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, and El Paso, according to the data.

NTAs are filed with immigration courts by CBP Office of Field Operations agents and DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agents. “No information to our knowledge has been publicly released by DHS on why and where these problems occur,” TRAC said.

House Republicans aim to find out.

In their letter to Mayorkas, Jordan and McClintock highlight data from the TRAC report and expressed concern “with DHS’s inaction, which exacerbates the nation’s already backlogged immigration courts and creates additional chaos in the Biden Administration’s immigration crisis.”

They also pointed out that the roughly 200,000 deportation case dismissals due to DHS not filing NTAs were significantly greater than the more than 15,500 DHS “failure to prosecute” cases reported between fiscal 2017 and 2020.

They requested that Mayorkas provide documents and information from Jan. 20, 2021, to the present related to the number of cases EOIR dismissed for DHS’s failure to prosecute; the number of cases described in question 1 for which DHS eventually filed an NTA; and all DHS reports on cases dismissed for failure to prosecute.”

In their letter to Cheng, they highlighted the same data and expressed similar concerns. They requested her to provide the number of cases EOIR dismissed for DHS’s failure to prosecute; the number of cases described in question 1 for which DHS eventually filed an NTA; and all EOIR’s Cognos failure to prosecute reports.

They gave a deadline for the requested material to be provided by April 17.

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This article was published by the Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: YouTube screenshot

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