As of April 20, federal immigration officials had deported 127,378 illegal aliens, which works out to a little over 500,000 deportations a year. In contrast, a report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) back in 2013 noted that total deportations in 2011 (the latest year for which complete numbers were available at the time) numbered 715,495, which, itself, was the lowest level since 1973. The highest number of deportations on record, reported CIS, was in 2000, under the Clinton administration, when 1,864,343 aliens were deported.
The latest deportation figures were gathered from unpublished internal government data obtained by the Associated Press, which reported on April 29 that the latest figures indicate an average of about 19,730 deportations a month for the first six months of the government’s fiscal year that began in October.
At that rate, the federal government will deport about 236,000 illegal aliens by September, which would be the lowest number since 2006, when 207,776 were sent home.
As bad as the above figures are, other reports show an even worse track record. The Washington Times reported on April 23, that during the first six months of fiscal year 2015, which began October 1, the government deported just 117,181 illegal aliens, which is just three-quarters of the 157,365 deportations during that same period a year earlier. The Times cited figures reported to Congress, but did not name the source.
While statistics often vary because of the different methodology used in compiling them in various studies, all available figures indicate a strong downturn in deportations by the Obama administration.
The AP report was not the only major media news during the past year that noted the decline. In April 2014, an article in the Los Angeles Times stated:
A closer examination shows that immigrants living illegally in most of the continental U.S. are less likely to be deported today than before Obama came to office, according to immigration data. Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.
The AP stated in its latest report that deportations have been declining for nearly three years after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recorded a record 409,849 removals in 2012.
During the Judiciary Committee’s Hearing on Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security on April 28, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was critical of the Obama administration’s record and told Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson that the administration’s “lack of will” to enforce the country’s immigration laws has led millions of potential illegal aliens to believe they will not be deported if they manage to enter the country. “We see a lack of will in your department,” Sessions said, stating that the lack of will existed “before you took the office” and “from the president on down.”
Session’s statements, which were quoted in a report from Breitbart News on April 28, accused the Obama administration of being lax on immigration enforcement.
The Alabama senator noted that “40 percent of the people here unlawfully today came lawfully and refused to leave on time, and we have no real ability to deal with that and have not taken steps required by law to deal with that.”
Sessions also cited the Obama administration’s stopping of worksite inspections to detect the presence of illegal workers, the existence of sanctuary cities where local authorities do not cooperate with federal immigration officers, and the administration’s lack of pressure on foreign countries that refuse to accept deportees as examples of a failed immigration enforcement policy.
“All this has led millions to conclude that if they come here illegally, they’ll be successful,” said Sessions. “We've got to change that fundamentally.”
Just five days earlier, during a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, which he chairs, Sessions said that the hearing would focus on “programs created by this Administration outside the scope of law — primarily the Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program.” In his opening statement, Sessions wrote:
During the summer of 2014, precipitated by the President’s executive amnesty program for younger illegal immigrants, the southern border experienced a massive wave of illegal immigration….
However, rather than use existing laws to take decisive action to combat this tide of illegal immigration … the Administration created this new “in-country” processing program, which promises to impose even greater costs on local communities. The result is that large numbers of illegal entrants have concluded that they can bring in more family members unlawfully.
Prior to the start of the April 28 Judiciary Committee hearing, Secretary Johnson gave his own written testimony to the committee, in which he first provided a list of the Obama administration’s accomplishments in countering terrorism. He then moved on to immigration, stating, “Securing the border is another core mission of DHS.” The following part of his statement might be interpreted in two ways:
The result of all these [enforcement] efforts has been a significant reduction in apprehensions of illegal migrants along the southwest border, a strong indicator that there are fewer attempts to cross the border illegally.
The reduction in apprehensions might be an indication of fewer attempts to cross the border illegally, — or it also might mean that fewer illegal border crossers were apprehended!
While Johnson evidently meant the following statement to be taken seriously, Sessions and many others who have criticized the Obama administration’s ongoing amnesty programs might be tempted to laugh, but for the fact that our government’s failed immigration enforcement is such a serious problem, Johnson asserted:
We’re not declaring total victory. But we are sending a strong message — backed by strong action — that this country is not open to illegal migration.
Apparently the thousands of illegal aliens crossing our borders every month have not received that message.
Johnson then went on to defend the administration’s use of executive actions to “prioritize the removal of felons over families.” In other words, non-felons will be given a free pass and granted amnesty from deportation.
Johnson asserted that such executive actions are justifiable and referred to the injunction by the court in Texas that has placed implementation of some of those programs — notably the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — on hold.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), prepared his own statement in advance of the hearing, in which he criticized the administration’s immigration enforcement policies several times.
Grassley noted that “even though there is an injunction against the executive actions, we can still get a good idea of what to expect from the enjoined programs based on the way the department has implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or ‘DACA’ program.”
The Iowa senator said it appears that applications for deferred action are being “rubberstamped,” and noted that criminals and gang members are receiving this amnesty despite supposed policies against it.
Grassley cited as an example the case of a DACA recipient in North Carolina, Emmanuel Rangel-Hernandez, who is accused of murdering four people.
Grassley also brought up a problem mentioned by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who handed down the injunction, stating that the committee wanted to know why the DHS provided over 100,000 DACA work authorization extensions despite assurances its lawyers gave the federal court (in Texas) that it would not implement any aspect of the president’s executive action until February 18, 2015.
The Iowan strongly condemned the administration's actions, stating:
One thing seems very clear: there is little will or desire by this administration to enforce the laws on the books and to back up agents in the field who swore to uphold the law.
Though Grassley’s statement might be obvious to those who look at the large numbers of illegal aliens in our nation who seem immune from deportation, the Obama administration somehow seems oblivious to the crisis, or else considers it a non-problem.