Despite reports to the contrary, deportations of illegal immigrants settled in the United States are down 40 percent since President Barack Obama took office, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Obama has taken heat from Latino groups, one leader dubbing him "deporter in chief," amid furor that his administration has removed more illegal immigrants from the United States than his Republican predecessor, President George W. Bush.
What has risen, according to the Times, is the number of people apprehended at the border and returned to Mexico. The explanation is that it’s because of a change in who gets counted in statistics kept by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Under previous administrations, according to the report, border crossers were returned to Mexico and not counted in ICE statistics. During the Bush administration, that changed. People apprehended at the border were fingerprinted and formally deported, a policy shift enacted to make sure those who illegally entered the country would have a formal charge on their record.
The number of deportations has risen during Obama’s tenure, but only for people picked up within 100 miles of the border. Last year, those caught entering the country within that distance accounted for almost two-thirds of deportations.
The Washington Times
reported last month that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson confirmed that his department’s deportation figures were vastly composed of border apprehensions and not from the interior.
Interior deportations, the Times reported, dropped from 237,941 during Obama’s first year in office to 133,551 in 2013. In four out of five cases, the illegal immigrants landed on authorities’ radar as a result of criminal convictions.
Immigration roundups in the workplace have mostly been replaced with investigations of business owners illegally hiring foreign workers, according to the Times.
"If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero — it's just highly unlikely to happen," John Sandweg, former acting director of ICE, told the newspaper.
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