More than 7,700 immigrant children have been ordered deported over the past 18 months without ever appearing in court, according to statistics released by the federal government recently and reported by the Los Angeles Times Friday.
The Times account was based on data supplied by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which processes data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal agencies.
Legal proceedings had been brought against 62,363 children over the past 18 months. In at least 7,706 cases, the children were ordered deported after they failed to make a court appearance. No figures were available on how many of these children were even aware of their hearings—they range in ages from toddlers to adolescents. But 94 percent of those ordered deported had no attorney to represent them.
Attorneys and advocates for the undocumented children said that many of these hearings are held without any notice given to those facing deportation. This problem has been exacerbated by an Obama order that immigration judges fast track such hearings, holding them within 21 days of ICE seeking a deportation order. With children scattered across the country, in detention facilities, foster care or staying with relatives, the fast-track hearing process makes timely notice extremely difficult.