The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) released its deportation report for this fiscal year. Deportations of illegal aliens was the highest in history. This data conflicts with the mantra of GOP Presidential candidates who accuse Obama of going to the border at night and opening the gates himself, figuratively speaking.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said the agency is focusing its resources on criminals, recent border crossers, those who repeatedly cross the border, and those people the department considers fugitives.
Deportation increase due to new policy initiated by Obama
According to ICE, overall, in FY 2011 the agency removed 396,906 individuals — the largest number in the agency’s history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence.
ICE achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Ninety percent of all ICE’s removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.
President Obama issued an executive order earlier in the year directing ICE to use a case by case basis for deportation focusing on those illegal immigrants who have been accused of or convicted of a crime, or who returned to the U.S. after being deported. The President said resources are scarce and they need to be focused on removing those who commit crimes and are a threat to our society first.
This has apparently worked because ICE agents are not spread so thin they can hot round up those who threaten our citizens.
Obama takes heat from both sides for record deportations
It will surprise no one, Republicans who rail against illegal immigration constantly found a way to criticize the President for doing what they have been calling for him to do which is to deport illegal immigrants.
House Judiciary Chairman U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, (R-TX) when asked to comment on the ICE deportation report, he said “The Obama administration is cooking the books to make it look like they are enforcing immigration laws, when in reality they are enacting amnesty through inaction” He has previously said we could free up millions of jobs for Americans if we enforced immigration laws.
On the other side, some Hispanic legislators were critical. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said in a statement “We are deporting hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country to work, raise families, contribute to the economy, and want nothing more than to be allowed to live and work here legally,” according to an article in The Hill.
Laura Wides-Munoz- AP Hispanic Affairs Writer wrote that Susana Barciela, policy director for Americans for Immigration Justice, expressed concerns about the numbers. “We are worried because many of the people who are being deported have committed minor crimes.”
The Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Forum called the number of deportations a waste of tax payer dollars. “In reality, the numbers highlight a failure of our government to come to grips with our broken immigration system,” the group’s statement said.
The President has tried to get legislation passed like the Dream Act, but has been blocked by Republicans. The new policy was an attempt to balance enforcing current law within the resources available while being respectful to the millions of law abiding immigrants who have been here a long time, work, pay taxes, and raise their children.
There is a saying “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” The President can’t even please Republicans when he does exactly what they demand he do.
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