DOJ Releases Latest Immigration Statistics

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WESLACO — Fewer people are being deported now than any other time in the last five years.

When Homeland Security charges someone with a violation of immigration law, they give them one of two papers. It’s either a notice to appear or a notice of referral to an immigration judge.

The people get tracked by the Department of Justice. After that, if the person is ordered to be removed or if they are granted relief, Homeland Security takes over again for the next step.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS acquired the latest deportation numbers from the U.S. Department of Justice. We now know how many people are leaving the country and who is getting processed the most.

Half of the people caught crossing the border illegally never make it to an immigration court.

We noticed the numbers are way off. A little more than 187,000 people were brought to the court for removal proceedings. It’s the majority of the 199,534 cases received in 2015. But Homeland Security officials said they caught more than twice that number in 2014 and 2015.

“As long as they claim to be here before 2014, we just let them go,” said Brandon Judd from the National Border Patrol Council. “They don't have to prove it. They just have to tell us.”

In February, Border Patrol officials admitted to letting people go without processing them, if they claimed to arrive in the country before 2014. No court date is set. As more people get caught, fewer may be removed.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS noticed one more thing. Fewer people are choosing to leave the country. Voluntary departure rates dropped to the lowest numbers in five years. We reached out to the Department of Justice about these numbers. When we hear back, we’ll let our viewers know.

Link: U.S. Department of Justice FY 2015 Statistics Yearbook Report

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