There once was a time when the Obama Administration boasted of its “record deportations” of illegal aliens. This claim, evidently, was a strategy to advance the administration’s goal of amnesty for most of the 11 million illegal aliens in the United States. The message was something along the lines of this: “Since we’ve become so tough on illegal aliens by deporting so many, we can now afford to cut some slack to those who remain by granting them the legal right to remain here.”
But a funny thing happened as this message spread. It caused a serious backlash among Obama’s pro-illegal alien supporters. A number of them even began to refer to him as the “Deporter-in-Chief.” To help smooth things out, Obama met with some of these critics and reassured them that the record deportations claim was “a little deceptive.”
Actually it was highly deceptive. Basically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) came up with the alleged record numbers by padding the actual deportation statistics (i.e., people deported from the interior) with illegal aliens caught at the border and sent home. Before the Obama Administration, the latter number was never included in the total of deportations. Finally, after researchers revealed this fact, Jeh Johnson, the head of DHS, officially conceded that the deportations figures were inflated.
Immigration law enforcement, in reality, has progressively collapsed under the Obama Administration, as shown in a recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies. Since last year, the total of genuine deportations plus border apprehensions and returns has declined 15 percent. Genuine deportations during that same period have gone down 34 percent, and are 54 percent lower than in 2009, the first year of the Obama Administration.
The administration maintains that its primary policy for enforcement is to focus on deporting illegal aliens who have committed violent crimes and other serious offenses, and generally to leave the rest alone. It justifies this selectivity by claiming that it doesn’t have adequate resources to deal with more illegal aliens than the hardened criminals.
Two facts cast doubt on the sincerity of this claim. One is that administration has not requested additional resources. The other is that when states passed laws to assist immigration law enforcement, the administration sued them to overturn those laws.
From 2009 to 2013, 95 percent of the illegal aliens deported by the administration were serious criminal violators. This means that most other illegal aliens were in little danger of being sent back home. This indicates once again that the administration scarcely regards violation of immigration laws as a crime.
Deporting hardened criminals is indeed a good thing, but even here the administration is failing to do its job properly. Since 2011, as overall deportations have declined, the total number of criminals sent home has declined 39 percent, and since last year it has gone down 23 percent. The inescapable conclusion one can draw is that the administration, to an increasing degree, is allowing foreign criminals to remain in the U.S. Amazingly, DHS has released significant numbers of illegal alien criminals who had been apprehended and held in custody.
Certainly President Obama doesn’t deserve the title of Deporter-in-Chief. His administration, however, can contend for the titles of record nonenforcement and record deception.