In his famous scene from Casablanca, Claude Rains, playing the role of Captain Louis Renault, jokingly suggested that gambling in the local Rick’s Café nightclub astonished him. In truth, Renault is fully in the know, corrupt and on the take.
Americans reacted in much the same cynical way as Renault did on film when they read the Department of Homeland Security announcement that more than 70 percent of this summer’s Central American alien families ordered to return for an immigration hearing didn’t appear. If there’s one thing Americans are not, it’s shocked.
After doing the math, the Associated Press, which broke the story, calculated that 41,000 aliens didn’t keep their court dates. Furthermore, from the 860 aliens who received final deportation orders, only 14 reported.
Since the historical average for alien no-shows in court is 90 percent, the surprise thing is that so many actually appeared, and that 14 of them agreed to be deported. Little wonder that immigration officials refer to notices to appear as “run letters.”
Immigration under President Obama is all about “catch and release,” the infamous, self-defeating practice of apprehending illegal aliens, arresting them, but then releasing them into the general public. Although DHS promised that it would end “catch and release” in October 2006, the dangerous practice is still commonplace.
The Central American invasion could be slowed, if not stopped, by sending immigration judges to the border and adjudicating cases immediately. The practice worked successfully to curb Central American illegal immigration during the Reagan administration, and could still work if the White House had the political will.