“Interior deportations”—that is, of illegal invaders inside the U.S.—totaled 65,332 out of an estimated population of 12 illegal million aliens, a ten-year low, a new analysis of the latest U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has revealed.
Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, Jessica Vaughn, also panned the latest DHS report, remarking that “if there were an award for government reports that aim to obfuscate and spin, I would nominate this one.”
“On Friday, December 30, the last work day of the calendar year, on the eve of a holiday weekend, the Department of Homeland Security released a report on ICE enforcement statistics for the 2016 fiscal year, which ended September 30,” Vaughn wrote.
“It’s no wonder that they waited for a day when hardly a soul was paying attention; the numbers for ICE are abysmal, even worse than 2015,” she wrote, pointing out that on the same day, the DHS also released two editions (here and here) of a new annual report on immigration enforcement from the Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS).
Traditionally, Vaughn explained, the annual enforcement reports have provided a summary of basic statistics from all three DHS enforcement agencies.
“This year, under the supervision of new OIS Director Marc Rosenblum, the reports contain only a fraction of the vital statistics that traditionally have been published, and serve mainly as a report card on how well the enforcement agencies adhered to the contrived and restrictive prioritization scheme imposed on them in 2014,” she continued.
Vaughn identified the key findings as follows:
* Deportations credited to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2016 increased by 2 percent, but all of the increase came from cases of aliens arrested by the Border Patrol, not interior enforcement.
* Interior deportations fell from 69,478 in 2015 to 65,332 in 2016, out of a population of illegal aliens now estimated at 12 million.
* Deportations of criminal aliens fell from 63,127 in 2015 to 60,318 in 2016, out of an estimated population of two million criminal aliens.
* The total number of deportations under the Obama administration is not easily comparable to prior administrations because of the number of border cases included, but it certainly is not record-breaking, as Obama has claimed.
* The DHS has maintained that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) arrests have always been a large share of ICE deportations, but in fact this is a new development under the Obama administration. In prior administrations only a third of deportations credited to ICE were border cases; now about two-thirds are border cases.
In 2016, Vaughn’s analysis continued, ICE removed a total of 240,255 aliens. This statistic counts all deportations (removals and returns) that are credited to ICE, and includes both border and interior cases handled by ICE.
“It is just 2 percent higher (4,842 more) than 2015, when ICE removed 235,413 aliens. The number is 24 percent lower than 2014, and 41 percent lower than the peak number of deportations credited to ICE in 2012. It is the lowest number of deportations credited to ICE since 2006.”
“What little growth there was in deportations credited to ICE was the result of a higher number of cases turned over to ICE after apprehension by the Border Patrol, not more interior enforcement.
“ICE removed 65,332 aliens from the interior in 2016. That is a decline of 6 percent from 2015 and down 73 percent from 2009, the year President Obama took office.”
Nearly all (98 percent) of the aliens removed from the interior in 2016 were convicted criminals. The report emphasizes that the percentage of interior removals who are criminals has been increasing, but never mentions that the actual number of criminals removed has been declining.
In 2016, ICE removed 60,318 criminal aliens from the interior. This is a decline of 4 percent from 2015 and a decline of 60 percent from the peak in interior criminal alien removals in 2010.
Vaughn explained the reason for the massive drop: the Obama administration’s “prioritization scheme that has steadily narrowed the types of cases that ICE officers are permitted to pursue.”
These policies have, she explained, “exempted all but the most egregious alien offenders from deportation. Currently only aliens convicted of felonies, significant misdemeanors, or three lesser misdemeanors are considered priorities, and exceptions are allowed in many cases, such as if the alien has acquired a family or other community ties here.”
“Under Obama, a much larger number of Border Patrol cases were transferred to ICE for processing than had been the case under prior administrations.
“In 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, just over a third of deportations credited to ICE were border cases, and two-thirds were interior cases. In 2016, more than two-thirds of the deportation cases credited to ICE were border cases, and less than a third were interior cases.