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Law 360
December 3, 2021

EOIR's Juvenile Stats Unusable, Immigration Data Center Says
By Jennifer Doherty

EOIR's monitoring of kids caught up in immigration court proceedings has always been imperfect, Susan B. Long, co-founder and co-director of Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse told Law360 in an interview Friday. However, its data quality appears to have reached a new low in the past year, even as federal authorities have struggled to get their arms around a sustained increase in the number of children arriving at the southern border. "It's just totally awful," Long said of EOIR's juvenile table, the agency's single source for reporting numbers of children under 18 years old. "There's no way to get a figure out of this." Much of the problem with EOIR's current reporting can be traced to changes the agency implemented in 2017, according to a statement TRAC issued Thursday explaining its decision to remove juvenile data from 2018 onwards from its civil immigration reports. "The results compiled before these changes occurred will be retained online for use in historical research. However, until EOIR corrects their currently flawed data tracking of juveniles, TRAC will be unable to reinstate updating EOIR's handling of juveniles, whether unaccompanied or accompanied as part of a family group," the research center said. Prior to 2017, EOIR's juvenile data collection focused on children who arrived in the U.S. without a legal guardian. The changes in EOIR's reporting around that time included a new, more restricted definition of unaccompanied minors, expanding its data collection to include accompanied children and another designation of "not applicable," according to Long.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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