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November 30, 2016

Immigration Court Appearance Rates

As government leaders and lawmakers debate immigration policy reforms, one essential—and often misrepresented—piece of information is the extent to which individuals in immigration removal proceedings comply with their court appearance obligations if they are not detained.

Some media outlets have reported that immigrants are more likely than not to abscond from (or skip) their immigration court proceedings. This is simply not true and reflects an erroneous analysis of the available government data. The lack of comprehensive, publicly available data on the immigration system poses a challenge in understanding appearance rates of immigrants. However, based on the data that is available, it is clear that immigrants appear for their immigration court hearings at high rates, particularly when certain factors are present, such as having legal representation and information related to the court process...