Feds have lost track of immigrant families released from Texas detention center


  • Photo By Bob Owen/SAEN
    Immigrant detention is a big political issue already, but when children and families are involved the situation gets even more complicated.

The federal government says it doesn’t know how many families it released since last year’s border surge have shown up in immigration court.

Last July, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began tracking the cases of immigrant mothers with children who were released as part of a program called “alternatives to detention.”

However, the agency said last week that until this spring it only tracked the cases of those who appeared at ICE offices around the country to enroll.

In May of this year, ICE began tracking all families released at the border, a spokesperson said.

Click through the slideshow above for a guide to family detention in Texas.

Those released were still given notices to appear in immigration court and face deportation for failing to show up.

Lawyers representing Central American families fleeing violence in their home countries said their clients have an incentive to appear before a judge, because many are seeking asylum and can live in the U.S. legally if they win their court cases.

Language barriers, bureaucracy and lack of access to attorneys create hurdles for immigrant families, lawyers said.

Click here
to read more about immigrant families released by ICE and the court process they’re navigating.