Advocate: Many on migrant flights have left San Diego area

SAN DIEGO - Weeks after several groups of Central American immigrants flown into San Diego were met by angry protesters, some are wondering where the immigrants are now.

So far, three flights carrying more than 400 people have landed in San Diego.

Three weeks after the first of those flights, Team 10 investigator Michael Chen asked, "How many are still in town?"

"Very few," replied Rabbi Laurie Coskey, executive director of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice.

Coskey's nonprofit has assisted four families who were all fleeing violence. She said all but one of her families has left the area.

As for the other immigrants, they left the area within days of arriving. Some were picked up by family.

Others, Team 10 was told, were taken to train stations, bus stations, even airports, where they had tickets awaiting them, paid for by family members or nonprofits

So where are they headed? Coskey said they are usually going to states with larger populations of Central American immigrants like New York, Connecticut and Virginia.

Central California was the destination for one of Coskey's four families. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say many also landed in the Midwest.

Immigration officials say the immigrants are handed a notice to connect with an ICE office in their final location within 15 days to set up a hearing. Their addresses are verified by federal officials.

But how many actually make an appearance?

Team 10 obtained the latest no-show numbers -- estimated at 54 percent for Central American immigrants, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Those numbers are disputed by Coskey, who said all four of her families will show up.

"They're not people who disappear. They want to tell their story; they want asylum," said Coskey.

An ICE spokesperson told Team 10 the agency will be tracking the no-show rate for the recent flights, but declined to release any information.

The agency also confirms all but one family on the first flight has left the San Diego area, but didn't have the data for the other flights.

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