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A law enforcement officer walks to meet migrants crossed the Rio Grande River illegally last month. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

About 50,000 migrants who crossed the southern border illegally have now been released in the United States without a court date. Although they are told to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office instead, just 13% have shown up so far, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The sizable numbers are a sign of just how overwhelmed some sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border continue to be: A single stretch covering the Rio Grande Valley had 20,000 apprehensions in a week. The figures also show the shortcomings of recent emergency decisions to release migrants.

  • It's unprecedented for agents to release migrants without an official notice to appear in court. Where it has occurred recently, migrants have instead been given a list of addresses and contacts for ICE offices across the country and told to report to one of them.
  • The hope has been for migrants to show up at these offices after reaching their final destination, to get work permits.

By the numbers: Just 6,700 migrants who crossed between mid-March and mid-July showed up at ICE offices as of Monday, one source briefed on Department of Homeland Security data told Axios.

  • 16,000 have not showed up and passed the 60-day reporting window they were given. That's 2.4 no-shows for every one that has checked in.
  • Another roughly 27,000 migrants who crossed and were released during the same time frame have yet to turn up, but remain within the 60-day window for reporting. One DHS official emphasized that nearly 70% of migrants are within the 60-day window or have reported to ICE.

Meanwhile migrants continue to be released. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios that as of Monday, 7,300 migrants in the Rio Grande Valley sector had been released during the past week without court dates.

  • Cuellar said the total number of migrants released since March was up to 55,000.

The big picture: The new data come as immigration agents in the Rio Grande Valley highlight over 20,000 apprehensions made in just one week, as noted on Sunday in a tweet by the chief Border Patrol agent for that sector.

  • It's a sign of the continued surge in people attempting to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • That's after months of higher-than-normal border crossings, record months for encounters with migrants and more than 1 million apprehensions for the year.
  • The White House's emphasis on root causes in Central America, focus on critiques of former President Trump's harsh border policies and insistence that the inflated numbers are just seasonal are falling flat.

What they're saying: "We will always be a nation of borders, and we will enforce our immigration laws in a way that is fair and just. We will continue to work to fortify an orderly immigration system," the White House said in a fact sheet released Tuesday morning.

  • “While individuals have 60 days to check in with ICE, many are proactively reaching out to ICE to begin their official immigration processing, including by receiving a Notice to Appear," DHS spokesperson Meira Bernstein told Axios. "Those who do not report, like anyone who is in our country without legal status, are subject to removal by ICE.”

Editor’s note: Due to a calculation error, an earlier version mistakenly stated that were 25 no-shows for every migrant who checked in with ICE, rather than 2.4.

Go deeper

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.

U.S. begins deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants, many of them Haitian, cross the Rio Grande to get food and supplies near the Del Rio-Acuna Port of Entry in Ciudad Acuna on Sept. 18. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. commenced deportation flights to Haiti on Sunday for the thousands of Haitian migrants seeking shelter in the small Texas border town of Del Rio, a source told the Associated Press.

Driving the news: More than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, have been staying in a crowded temporary camp with poor conditions under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.

By the numbers: Haitian emigration

Expand chart
Data: CBP; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The number of Haitians crossing the U.S.-Mexico border had been rising even before their country's president was assassinated in July and the island was struck by an earthquake a month later.

Why it matters: A spike during the past few weeks — leaving thousands waiting in a makeshift camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas — has prompted a crackdown and deportations by the Biden administration.