Immigration Court's Data on Minors Facing Deportation is Too Faulty to Be Trusted
(02 Dec 2021) After careful analysis and consideration, TRAC is forced to suspend its publication of data on juveniles facing deportation in Immigration Court due to serious, unresolved deficiencies in the EOIR's data. TRAC's analyses indicate that the data used by the Immigration Court for tracking and reporting on juveniles who are facing deportation appear to be seriously flawed to the point that we question whether the agency has the ability to meaningfully and reliably report on juveniles in its caseload.

We wrote to EOIR's Acting Director Jean King on September 22, 2021 to share TRAC's findings, request feedback from the agency, and offer to share additional details to support the agency's efforts to identify and resolve the issues. TRAC did not receive any response to that letter. We wrote to the EOIR again on October 15, 2021, this time to Director David Neal who had subsequently been appointed as EOIR's permanent director by Attorney General Merrick Garland. We reiterated our initial concerns, but TRAC did not receive a response to that letter either.

TRAC is now regretfully withdrawing its own Juvenile App since EOIR's data are too flawed to be used. Because these significant data problems arose only at the time EOIR implemented a series of changes in the latter part of 2017 impacting how unaccompanied juveniles were tracked, the results compiled before these changes occurred will be retained online for use in historical research.

The Immigration Court's failure to respond to or address TRAC's findings of significant data quality issues regarding minors is particularly concerning given the highly sensitive nature of children facing deportation. This data quality problem on tracking juvenile cases adds to EOIR's earlier refusal to address data quality issues regarding asylum cases that continue to disappear from the agency's master database which it relies on to manage its workload. Furthermore, TRAC recently uncovered additional data problems leading EOIR to falsely report its asylum backlog had allegedly declined this past year when in fact the backlog had markedly grown.

Taken individually, each specific issue is significant and noteworthy in its own right. But taken together, these now multiple unresolved data quality issues are compounding upon each other. TRAC has repeatedly offered to work with the EOIR to aid the agency as it seeks an understanding of the problem and a meaningful solution—yet thus far EOIR has continued to ignore its growing data management problems.

The public should be increasingly troubled by the indifference that the Immigration Courts have shown to these issues and should push for improved transparency and accountability.

For further information about the problems in the Court's juvenile data go to:

Customized queries of TRAC's data TRAC FBI Web Site TRAC DEA Web Site TRAC Immigration Web Site TRAC IRS Web Site TRAC ATF Web Site TRAC Reports Web Site FOIA Project Web Site
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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