US Government Deports Fewest Immigrants in Nearly a Decade

Alicia A. Caldwell, My Way, October 6, 2015

The Obama administration deported the fewest number of immigrants in the past 12 months since 2006, according to new government figures obtained by The Associated Press.

The figures also show that deportations of criminal immigrants have dropped to the lowest numbers since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, despite his pledge to focus on finding and deporting criminals living in the country illegally.

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.

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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.

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Obama has overseen the removal of more than 2.4 million immigrants since taking office, but deportations have been declining steadily in the last three years. Removals declined by more than 84,000 between the 2014 and 2015 budget years, the largest year-over-year decline since 2012.

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