Central American immigrants: Is there incentive to attend court date or disappear?

They may decide to go underground.

Immigration: What's next?

EL PASO, Texas - Local organizations are doing what they can to help the hundreds of Central American immigrants, including St. Pius Catholic Church. The church raised $7,000 to go toward clothing and food for these immigrants. The hope is donations can help immigrants get by until their court date.

But beyond offering shelter, will places like St. Pius actually make an impact in the situation? ABC-7 is discovering many of these Central Americans may have no incentive to stay within the grasp of the legal system.

The goal is to get these displaced immigrants a place to stay, whether that's at a shelter or with a family member.

The next step is for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find out where they will be staying, in order to send their court documents and the date they need to appear before a judge to that address.

"Their court dates will be in that geographical city, they do not have to return to El Paso," said Annunciation House Director Ruben Garcia.

ICE will supervise the immigrants during this period.But the question remains, what if these women don't show up to court and go off the radar? What incentive do they have to stay in touch with ICE agents and eventually get deported?

"We say this to families, look you were caught,"Garcia said. "You were caught and you were detained. And so your now in proceedings. Our recommendation to you is stay connected, engaged with the immigration process. However find legal representation."

Legal representation is just one of the services Saint Pius can help these families find. Garcia said staying engaged in the legal process with a good immigration lawyer is in their interest, especially if they're making the case for asylum. The recognizance release protects them, and these immigrants won't need to hide, at least for now.

"Down the line, will they get asylum?" Garcia said. "Will they get some immigration release that will halt their deportation? That's really up to the judge and the attorneys. They may not and at some point, a year down the line, two years down the line, they may decide to go underground and that's a possibility." 

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