Good News: Deportation Rates For Criminal Immigrants Lowest Since Obama Took Office

Posted: Oct 06, 2015 4:00 PM
Good News: Deportation Rates For Criminal Immigrants Lowest Since Obama Took Office

Well, we have this terrific news from the Associated Press:

Deportations of criminal immigrants have fallen to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, despite his pledge to focus on finding and deporting criminals living in the country illegally. The share of criminal immigrants deported in relation to overall immigrants deported rose slightly, from 56 percent to 59 percent.

The overall total of 231,000 deportations generally does not include Mexicans who were caught at the border and quickly returned home by the U.S. Border Patrol. The figure does include roughly 136,700 convicted criminals deported in the last 12 months. Total deportations dropped 42 percent since 2012.

The Homeland Security Department has not yet publicly disclosed the new internal figures, which include month-by-month breakdowns and cover the period between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 28. The new numbers emerged as illegal immigration continues to be sharply debated among Republican presidential candidates, especially front-runner Donald Trump. And they come as Obama carries out his pledge from before his 2012 re-election to narrowly focus enforcement and slow deportations after more than a decade of rising figures.

The biggest surprise in the figures was the decline in criminal deportations. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last year directed immigration authorities anew to focus on finding and deporting immigrants who pose a national security or public safety threat, those who have serious criminal records or those who recently crossed the Mexican border. The decline suggests the administration has been failing to find criminal immigrants in the U.S. interior, or that fewer immigrants living in the U.S. illegally had criminal records serious enough to justify deporting them.

Well, whatever the reason, people have been getting killed due to our reported inability to find them. On July 24, 64-year-old Marilyn Pharis was raped and murdered by 29-year-old Victor Aureliano Hernandez Ramirez and his accomplice, Jose Fernando Villagomez, after they broke into her home in California. Hernandez was released after serving time for a battery charge. As Leah wrote, Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a detainer request on Hernandez, asking local sheriffs to notify them when he would be released so he could be taken into custody and determine whether he should be deported; that request did not receive a response from local law enforcement. Moreover, it doesn’t help that this administration has hamstrung federal immigration enforcement measures.

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The crimes caused by illegal immigrants in the country was spotlighted by the death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, where she was shot by Francisco Sanchez, while walking on a pier with her father, her last words being “help me, Dad.” Sanchez was deported five times before, but kept coming back into the country illegally, seeking refuge in San Francisco since he knew it was a sanctuary city–and that no effort would be made to detain him. He said Steinle’s death was an accident.