by Caroline May
23 Jun 2015

The vast majority of illegal immigrant family units from Central America who arrived at the U.S. border last summer have failed to appear at their court hearings.

Statistics from the Department of Justice Executive Office of Immigration Review obtained by Fox News reveal that 84 percent of illegal immigrant adults with children released from custody pending trials never showed up and less than 4 percent left the U.S. voluntarily.

“That strategy is obviously a complete failure because such a high percentage of these people who were not detained have simply melted into the larger illegal population and have no fear of immigration enforcement,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told Fox.

The data come as activists call for the government to end the detention of illegal immigrant families seeking asylum in the U.S.

Fox News looks at Justice Department data about Central American illegal immigrant women and children detained beginning July 18, 2014:

Since then, ICE detained 83,385 adults and children and completed 24,842 cases. Of those, more than 64 percent, or 16,136, didn’t show up for court, and fewer than 4 percent, or 908, agreed to leave voluntarily.

But compare the number of removals for women and children who were detained against those who were not. Among those families who were allowed to remain free after their initial appearance in court, 84 percent never showed up again for their case. They remain free, scattered in cities across America. By contrast, 70 percent of those detained did show up before a judge

And while activists argue that these illegal immigrants have a real claim to asylum, that they have a “credible fear” of returning to their Central American home countries, judges reject the request for illegal immigrant adults with children 92 percent of the time, according to Fox.

In its report, Fox News highlights seven reasons why these Central American illegal family units have a better chance of remaining in the U.S. if they abscond than if they play by the rules.

Specifically, Fox points to the more than 100 U.S. sanctuary cities in the U.S., many cities’ refuse to comply with immigration detainers, the fact that deportations are at the lowest level in four years and that those who are deported have largely committed a felony or multiple misdemeanors.

Other factors include the lack of worksite enforcement, 10 states that offer illegal immigrants drivers licenses that are now apparently usable for work verification, and the fact that just eight states require employers to use E-Verfiy.