President Trump’s justification for detaining migrants and asylum seekers in draconian detention centers has been that it’s the only way to ensure that migrants show up for their court hearings, saying most asylum seekers don’t show up for their court hearings.
But according to VOX, “Trump’s theory doesn’t hold up: About 99% of asylum seekers who were not detained or who were previously released from immigration custody showed up for their hearings over the last year, according to new data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, a think tank that tracks data in the immigration courts. Studies from previous years have also disproven the idea that most migrants will choose to live in the US without authorization rather than see their immigration cases through. But it’s nevertheless central to Trump’s immigration policies, including those that aim to keep migrants in Mexico rather than letting them walk free in the US.”
Last January, Trump asserted that as few as 2 percent of asylum seekers who aren’t in detention show up for their court hearings:
Tell me, what percentage of people come back? Would you say 100 percent? No, you’re a little off. Like, how about 2 percent? And those people, you almost don’t want, because they cannot be very smart… Those two percent are not going to make America great again, that I can tell you.
But data from both TRAC and the Department of Justice clearly refutes Trump’s claim: the rate at which non-detained migrants showed up for their court hearings still far exceeded 2 percent even in the years prior to 2019.