The United States exercises the authority to deport illegal immigrants to their home country, with aliens most often being sent back after they’re convicted of crimes.
The U.S. deported 315,943 people in fiscal 2014, down from 368,644 the previous fiscal year, according to The Wall Street Journal
. Congress — which is funded to remove 400,000 illegal immigrants each year — last reached that figure in fiscal 2012, when 409,849 immigrants were deported.
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A person may become an illegal immigrant subject to deportation in these three ways, according to Laws.com
- Crossing the border into the United States in violation of the law, which is the most common method of illegal entry.
- Entering the U.S. legally — by obtaining a visa of the type granted to tourists, students and business travelers — then staying beyond the time period allotted in that visa.
- Violating rules regarding border crossing cards, which are a form of identification that authorize a person to remain in the U.S. for a limited time.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is charged with apprehending people at the border as they try to illegally enter the country, while the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency audits employment records to identify workers who are in the U.S. illegally, Laws.com said
. Illegal immigrants caught in this country may be imprisoned or deported, with an immigration judge overseeing deportation proceedings. A convicted illegal immigrant may be sent back to his or her home country and banned from re-entry. “Complications in deportation will arise when the parents are deemed illegal immigrants but their children were born in America,” Laws.com added.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement
, 59 percent of unauthorized immigrants removed from the United States in 2013 (or 216,810) had been convicted of federal or state crimes. The second-most common scenario for deportation involved people being apprehended at the border trying to enter the country illegally, with that amounting to 29 percent (or 106,695) of the deportations, ICE reported.
President Barack Obama in November 2014 announced he was taking executive action that would temporarily shield from deportation and give work authorization to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants, according to The Wall Street Journal
. Obama eliminated Secure Communities, an enforcement program through which the federal government used national databases to check the immigration status and fingerprints of detained immigrants. Immigration advocates had criticized the program for triggering the deportation of immigrants arrested in connection with minor offenses, such as driving with a broken taillight.
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