Bustos Law Firm

Record-Breaking Deportation Numbers Are “A Little Deceptive”

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2011 at 4:03 PM

President Obama has recently touted record-breaking deportations in advance of his bid to be re-elected in 2012. However, a close look at the facts shows these recently reported statistics are misleading.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced last month that they deported nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants in fiscal year 2011, setting a record for a third consecutive year under the Obama administration. Of the 396,906 illegal immigrants deported, 216,698 were convicted criminals, most of them having been convicted of various DUI offenses.

And, while these record-breaking deportation statistics play well with anti-immigrant groups, they are also politically problematic for the President, because removal (deportation) is an issue that affects almost all Latino households. The overwhelming majority of which are related to, or know someone who is, an immigrant caught up in the removal process.

Accordingly, in an effort to appease Latino voters, the President said in a recent Hispanic online roundtable discussion that: “The statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is, with the stronger border enforcement, we’ve been apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back. That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours, sent back – that’s counted as a deportation.”

I am inclined to agree with the President that the numbers are “a little deceptive” as they give the impression that the Obama administration is enforcing immigration laws within U.S. borders more rigorously than they really are.

Case in point, the annual report from the Office of Immigration Statistics reveals that ICE is arresting far fewer people in the interior of the United States than ever before. The latest statistics show that in 2010, ICE arrested less than half the number of deportable aliens that they did in 2006, when they arrested 1.2 million deportable aliens.

In fact, arrest numbers of deportable aliens have been dropping for quite some time now. In 2006, the combined efforts of the Investigation Division and the Detention and Removal Division of ICE, resulted in 117,000 alien arrests. The arrest numbers dropped even lower in 2008 to 68,000, and the trend continued with 54,000 arrests in 2010.

And, while the President stated in a recent speech that his administration has “increased the removal of criminals by 70 percent,” ICE records reveal that many of those arrested throughout the year were deported under the Secure Communities Program, which was put into effect to target immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes. But,  immigrants who have been apprehended for minor infractions, such as traffic violations, were also sent packing under this program.

Advocates for immigration overhaul have said that the administration, by placing all illegal immigrants in the same category for deportation, has failed to live up to its promise to only deport the “worst of the worst.” And, again, as removal (deportation) is an issue that affects almost all Latino households, these kind of statistics are not helpful in Obama’s efforts to bolster support among Hispanics as reflected in recent polls indicating shrinking support for the President among Latinos in key battleground states.

The executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian, says the Obama administration is just “playing a double game,” meaning that they’re telling everyone what they want to hear. Immigration advocates are being told that enforcement efforts are focusing only on dangerous individuals, which really is not the case, and anti-immigration groups are being advised  of  record-breaking deportation numbers, which while impressive on the surface, don’t hold up under scrutiny when one examines the trend toward declining alien arrest numbers by ICE.

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