Nearly 600,000 migrants who crossed the U.S. border since March 2021 have been released into the U.S. without being charged or given a date to appear in court, according to data obtained by NBC News, and thousands have even been dropped from the program that was supposed to track them.
The practice, born of necessity as border-crossing numbers soared past previous records, was a break from the protocol of prior administrations, which required migrants to be given charging documents with a court date by Customs and Border Protection shortly after they were apprehended.
The lack of charging documents has left migrants across the country in legal limbo without a court date to determine whether they can legally stay in the U.S., their lawyers said. Many live in the shadows, unable to work and unaware that they are passing their one-year eligibility deadline to apply for asylum.
In late March 2021, as the numbers of undocumented migrants arriving at the southern border began to surge, CBP began releasing migrants with what is known as a “Notice to Report,” telling them to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to receive a court date, rather than a “Notice to Appear,” which instructs migrants when to appear in court to determine whether they will be deported or given protections to remain legally in the U.S.
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By late January 2023, more than 800,000 migrants were released on Notices to Report or Parole Plus ATD. About 214,000 of them were eventually issued charging documents with court dates, according to data obtained by NBC News, meaning that roughly 588,000 did not know when or where to report for their asylum hearings.
Read the full story on NBCNews.com