Thousands of immigrant families never reported to feds

Tens of thousands of people who were arrested for entering the country illegally and then released by U.S. authorities never followed up with immigration offices as they were required to, multiple outlets reported.

According to Immigration and Customers Enforcement data first obtained by the Associated Press this week, about 70 percent of the 40,000 migrant family members arrested at the border since May did not follow up their arrest with a necessary visit to an immigration office.

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The data is sure to lend fire to critics of the Obama’s administration’s response to the border crisis, which has seen an influx of unaccompanied minors and families arriving from Central America in recent months.

There is not enough detention space to hold many of the families who arrive in the U.S. illegally, so the government will often allow them to stay with relatives as officials work to deport them. Within a few weeks, they are supposed to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, according to multiple accounts 

Families may still show up for court proceedings to be deported even if they do not check in at an ICE office. Still, about 25 percent of total immigrants in the process of being deported never show up, according to the AP. 

The statistic was first reported by the AP, which learned of it through a recording of a “confidential meeting” with immigration advocates and federal officials.