Deportations are down. During the 2013 fiscal year, the Obama administration deported 368,644 foreigners, a 10 percent drop from the number of migrants deported in 2012.
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Total, over the course of President Obama’s time in office, more than 1.9 million migrants have been deported, a figure that is by far the most for any American president.
During a recent interview, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the deportations saying, “Our view of the law is, if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation.”
“I don’t see any reason for these deportations,” she added.
On December 5 Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat Congressman from Arizona and 28 other House Democrats sent a letter to the White House request the suspension of further deportations.
“Dear Mr. President,” the letter reads, “The undersigned Members of Congress respectfully request that you suspend any further deportations and expand the successful deferred action program to all those who would be potential citizens under immigration reform.”
Ramon Garibaldo Valdez, an immigration activist who works with the North Carolina based group United 4 the Dream said in a statement, “We are tired of empty promises for immigration reform.”
“I have lived undocumented in this country for 3 years, and my family is tired of living in fear,” he added.
Many immigration activists continue to focus on the total number of migrants who have been deported over the last few years rather than the recent decline in deportations. “President Obama is on pace to break the two million deportations record any day now,” Angelica Salas, the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said. “Only a much larger drop would be significant,” she added.
Immigration officials, however, defend their record and say that they are focusing on recent border crossers and migrants with criminal records. For instance, more than eight out of ten migrants detained away from the border had been convicted of a crime.
Furthermore, 49 out of every 50 fit the into at least one of the priority categories set by Immigration and Customs Enforcement: convicted criminals, national security risks, serious immigration offenders and recent border crossers.
Especially as immigration reform efforts stall, the Obama administration can expect more attention on its record on deportations.
At immigration rallies protesters have started carrying signs that read “Obama: You Can’t Court Us and Deport Us.”
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