As Obama Stalls On Immigration Decision, Number Of Deportations Plummet

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Sep 12, 2014 4:35 PM
As Obama Stalls On Immigration Decision, Number Of Deportations Plummet

As Katie wrote earlier today, the Obama administration will issue executive action on illegal immigration by the end of the year. She cited White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest saying, “President Obama has been working with Attorney General Eric Holder at the Justice Department and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ‘for months’ to form decisions about what action to take on the issue. He has also been taking suggestions from outside groups.”

This announcement comes after the Associated Press released their analysis of the Homeland Security Department’s numbers on deportations. Well, here’s a shocker: they’re decreasing (via Associated Press):

President Barack Obama, who has postponed until after Election Day his plans that could shield millions of immigrants from deportation, is already on pace this year to deport the fewest number of immigrants since at least 2007.

According to an analysis of Homeland Security Department figures by The Associated Press, the federal agency responsible for deportations sent home 258,608 immigrants between the start of the budget year last October and July 28 this summer. During the same period a year earlier, it removed 320,167 people — a decrease of nearly 20 percent.

Over the same period ending in July 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 344,624 people, some 25 percent more than this year, according to the federal figures obtained by the AP.

AP added that the decline of deportations could be due to the president prioritizing enforcement measures on “criminal immigrants.” Additionally, the surge of immigrants captured at the border from Central America is a situation doesn’t lend itself to a speedy deportation process. For starters, these people have to be flown back to their native countries. Right now, this influx has overwhelmed detention centers and legal entities handling the cases.

While the story also cites that the president can’t issue “blanket permission” for illegal immigrants to permanently stay in the U.S., does that mean he can’t issue a “blanket pardon,” as Guy discussed in a previous post. AP says much is unclear, but the less than 400 of the 59,000 illegals caught immigrating from Central America have been deported [emphasis mine]:

It remains unclear exactly what actions Obama will announce after the elections. He said earlier this month the U.S. would be better off if immigrants — who in some cases he said have been in the U.S. for longer than 10 years and have American children — "have a path to get legal by paying taxes and getting aboveboard, paying a fine, learning English if they have to."

As of early September, only 319 of more than 59,000 immigrants who were caught traveling with their families have been returned to Central America.