Jeremy Beck's picture


  by  Jeremy Beck

Making illegal immigration a non-deportable offense has long been a goal of many anti-enforcement activists but their radical proposal is only now becoming apparent to much of the public. For most of President Obama's term, the claim of record deportations had the public and the media focused on what was happening in the interior of the country. But as Julia Preston of the New York Times reports, "if [DHS Secretary] Johnson looks primarily at deportations from the interior of the country he may have limited room to maneuver, as those deportations have already been significantly reduced."

In response to demands from anti-deportation activists, Obama has asked Secretary Johnson to review immigration enforcement to make it "more humane." As little as a year ago, the media and public would have understood this to be a review of how the Administration goes about removing people with immigration violations from the interior of the country. Today, we understand that deportations from the interior are mostly limited to repeat immigration violators and those with criminal records.

The Daily Beast's Caitlin Dickson nicely summarizes the state of immigration enforcement today:

As far as enforcement is concerned, the Southwest border and the rest of the country might as well have different immigration laws. At the same time that Border Patrol has been ramping up the consequences of unauthorized crossings, ICE agents have been ordered to use so-called prosecutorial discretion in deporting non-citizens caught away from the border. (Emphasis mine)

In light of this revelation, the anti-deportation movement has been forced to clarify their demands. Laura Meckler of the Wall Street Journal reports: "Some advocates argue that the administration should offer leniency and even allow some illegal crossers to come into the country if they have lived here before and have strong family ties." (Emphasis mine)

Preston highlights a new anti-deportation talking point: "a fast-increasing share of the crimes that led to deportation, [a Migration Policy Institute] report found, were victimless offenses related to immigration -- mainly illegal crossing or evading a prior deportation order -- and not directly to the public safety of American communities." (Emphasis mine).

The debate has fundamentally changed. The deportation protests aren't calling for a scale back of a booming deportation machine (that's already happened in the interior) but for a complete halt for all deportations, including for those caught illegally entering or re-entering the country and for those who have committed additional, non-violent crimes.

Is illegal immigration a victimless offense? Should illegal immigration continue to be a deportable offense? These questions provide fertile ground for future stories. Doris Meissner of the Migration Policy Institute offered a glimpse into her crystal ball for the Daily Beast:

'I'd be very surprised if one sees immigration offenses dropped from the definition of serious crimes, because you'd be setting up a system that says, "We are going to make the border tougher and tougher, but if you can get across the border and you're in the interior then you are in a safe place,"' she said. "That is not a system that we - the public, Congress - want to have anymore.'

Yet that is the system we have under President Obama. If Jeb Bush were president, he would turn the current system on its head by cracking down on visa overstays in the interior but allowing non-violent illegal immigration to flow freely at the border. These alternatives satisfy no one. Activists on all sides desire a uniform deportation policy but we are fundamentally divided on the question of whether immigration violations should be deportable offenses at all. Now that the media has pulled the curtain back on the "record deportation" claim, we may finally get to have that debate.

Clarification for Readers: "record deportations" does not mean a record number of people required to leave

The stories linked above all make a record deportation claim (with clarifications) of one kind or another, none of which I found satisfying. Since Obama's true record has been revealed there has been an attempt to justify the claim by counting only one classification of people who are required to leave as technical deportations. If that sounds confusing, I hope this will help:

The Obama Administration has processed more "removals" than any other president in history. Removals are one common category of expulsions. The other common category is "returns", which DHS describes as "the confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States not based on an order of removal." If you compare Obama's removals plus returns (i.e. the total number of people required to leave) to his predecessors, he doesn't come close to any kind of record.

Some people claim that removals = deportations and every other form of expulsions do not (click here for a rebuttal to that argument). Whether they have a case or not, counting only removals as deportations is misleading since the average person assumes "deportations" encompass every person the United States has required to leave. Well-informed readers should help others understand that "deportations" has a different definition to different people these days, including reporters.

JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA

Illegal Immigration
Interior Enforcement

Updated: Mon, May 5th 2014 @ 9:43am EDT

NumbersUSA's blogs are copyrighted and may be republished or reposted only if they are copied in their entirety, including this paragraph, and provide proper credit to NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA bears no responsibility for where our blogs may be republished or reposted. The views expressed in blogs do not necessarily reflect the official position of NumbersUSA.
Gene 5798 of TX's picture

I surely, definitely do not see aliens crossing the border as a victimless crime. Not to tell my personal experiences again, but look at all the trash left at where they choose to cross. Now the border patrol has installed a total of 22 safety beacons for them to use when defeated by heat, etc. to call for help. who bears the cost of all this and more, the victim, the taxpayer. I'm tired of a nation lacking in common sense , purchasing all these play on words, inventing different meanings to confuse some.

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Karen 6880 of AZ's picture

I formally here ask that Numbersusa place a formal, small meaningful daily memorial or emblem always on screen to remember those loved ones died caused by illegal immigrants. I would cry each time I saw this memorial at first. Gene, commenter above, lost loved one which isn't anything like the loss the rest of us go through to the heritage, financial, culture loss caused by politicians and illegals.

Gene 5798 of TX's picture

Thank you, Karen. I am not looking for anything but justice for my son, as well as the others that have experienced the worst of alien invasion, aided and abetted by the United States of America's government. Few months I turn 73 and I'm beginning to think that I will not see a good sense end to this. I , well, I have to admit I do not understand the USA!

Karen 6880 of AZ's picture

I feel good that members have done far reaching work. I'm not sure we win. It's hope we do for younger Americans. The younger don't know the US was different than now, how nice it was. I liked the 80's and prior. My MN hometown is still like the 80's. No invasion there in small town.but still got the govt problem with taxes.

Karen 6880 of AZ's picture

VERY IMPORTANT !!! Via James Johnson of NCFIRE
Need questions from families whose loved one was killed by illegal aliens. My apologies for this late notice! We are scheduled to meet with Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security on Wednesday,May 7.
Please send to me a few very specific questions you would like for me to ask Sec. Johnson.
I leave tomorrow early morning and will check emails tomorrow evening.
**Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's mother and brother will also be in this meeting.
I will schedule a conference call shortly after Wednesday's meeting.
Contact: Maria Espinoza-Lyng (The Stolen Lives Quilt)

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John 4110 of MI's picture

Any policy that allows most to keep the benefits of crime means that for those people the law essentially does not exist. Now the push is to remove any hint of an uncomfortable or harder existence that arises from willful (if only by a parent) violation of the law. "Out of the shadows" is a cry for full and complete rewards for immigration crime.

Karon 0150 of NC's picture

Many families, have no idea what effect this uncontrolled illegal immigration and overstayed VISAS is having on their community, their State and Our Country. Many of them have kids with College degrees that can't find full-time employment, and they do not see a correlation. Many students are told they haven't tried hard enough to find full-time employment, or they obviously majored in the wrong field. Many parents feel that they didn't have any trouble finding a job when they graduated from college, so things shouldn't be any different for their kids. It's like a rug is being pulled out from under them, and all they care about it is getting back up. What they should ALSO be concerned about is....WHO is pulling the rug out from under them. Next, they need to vote THOSE politicians out of office who AREN'T representing Americans, and get this Country back on its feet.

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Jm  2943 of CO's picture

Its not just illegal immigration but immigration in general. We have watched metro Denver go from 1.7 million in 1987 when we first moved here to over 3.5 million. Alot of people do not speak English. They are catered to in their own language so no one is forced to learn. You have a heart for refugees but after they are here for so long; why arent they making an attempt to fit in? Why are they making everything out to be just like where they are from? Why arent they learning English? becoming citizens? productive members of society?

We have old age pension if you are over a certain age and under a certain income level for any immigrant. They dont even have to be here 5 years to get it so they pay nothing into the system and yet they get alot out. section 8 housing for immigrants too.

We can go on and on. We need productive people not people who dont want to work or just came with their hand out except for our fair share of refugees that want a new life here.

Its both parties too.

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Terri 9170 of IL's picture

If these people are here on asylum isn't there any expectation that they'll return to their home country? Look at the Cubans, they've come here for refuge and taken over southern Florida.

Steven 9122 of OK's picture

The wife had 300 checks stolen in a robbery. 13 different names on some of the checks. The vast majority were illegal aliens and NEVER even arrested although one was caught at a mex place trying to pass the check and another had pizza delivery and they had the address. Victimless NOT!

Albert 3441 of PA's picture

If illegal immigration were truly a victimless crime, why would almost every nation in the world (except our own "propositional nation") spend such a great deal of money and effort defending their borders? It is folly to suppose that any nation could remain a nation without the ability (and willingness) to define who is and who is not a member of its national community, for only by so doing are the rights and responsibilities of both governments and their citizens preserved. To allow the uncontrolled migration of people across international frontiers nullifies the very concept of nationhood and is a recipe for anarchy and war.

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Robert 4907 of DE's picture

A Victimless Crime? Are you kidding? How many identities have been stolen by the illegal aliens? How many Americans were killed by illegal alienss? How about the BILLIONS sent out of this country by the illegal aliens? How did that help out economy? How much did it cost the Americans for the free health care for the illegal aliens and their anchor babies? Yea, How much was that? How much is it costing the Americans to jail these illegal aliens? Hoe much is it costing to deport these illegal aliens? Yea, How Much? Maybe NumbersUSA should start to insist on being in this country illegally a felony with a fine of $2500 and six months in jail. Do you think the illegal aliens will still stay? Illegal aliens are destroying this country and soon we will be a third world country. If amnesty is granted, there will be no stopping any other illegal aliens from coming here illegally and wanting amnesty. Where will it end? How about NOW!

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Jm  2943 of CO's picture

Did you hear that the IN DOR is going through every tax refund and sending out notices that people need to answer 4 questions that only they would know if the refund smells fishy? and people are fine with that.

They are doing that just for ID theft. Too bad the IRS is too corrupt to do this too.

Vince 0041 of PA's picture

How many Americans displaced form the workforce? 7 million victims right there! How many American kids whose education is suffering because of the children of illegal aliens? ENOUGH! Somehow we need to get the message out that even though those living on the East coast don't see what is happening, it IS happening. These so-called "LIBERALS" are THE ones who should oppose illegal migration.

Aaron 8129 of ID's picture

As one of those millions unemployed ,very well said Vince! But isn't the real numbers either 88 or 92 million unemployed?? I've been seeing this number appearing on lots of news articles concerning illegals or amnesty for them a lot lately!

Philip 5927 of AZ's picture

Absolutely no! Illegal aliens being a victimless crime is a myth invented by so many anti enforcement activists to try to get the public's sympathy. We all must not let their lies mislead us. Beware! The liberal NY Times has Julia Preston who is an ace propagandist! In fact, the only victims involved as the result of illegal aliens are the American citizens. Both criminal and so-called non criminal illegal aliens are still guilty. You know, the facts, figures and statistics of illegal aliens are almost unbearable to read because it is too horrendous. I don't recommend anybody who has a weak stomach should read it. It is too scary!

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William 6898 of AZ's picture

The President, Dept. of Justice, and Homeland Security are a very, very sad example of law and order. These people are supposed to represent the American people and American interests. What we have instead is them representing criminals and criminal-behavior! Not only is this very disturbing to Americans trying to get ahead in they're own country, it is also illegal. Aiding criminals is a crime the last time I checked. Those people in office supporting this "comprehensive-reform"/amnesty should be charged with treason and sent to prison! They need and deserve a reminder of who they are supposed to be working for!

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Thomas 2924 of IN's picture

Jeremy, the concern you raise is real and very serious. Obama has already abrogated much of immigration law by dictatorial decree. He has made it completely safe for illegal aliens to live and work in our country. He demands an amnesty while taking these actions that strongly encourage more illegal immigration.

He might well allow illegal crossings by people who have lived here and have family here. But with the Obama administration a lie is as good as the truth and the most flagrantly fraudulent evidence is accepted without question from foreign nationals, so everyone who was caught would simply make the claim and in no time at all they would join the other millions of illegal aliens harbored by our sociopathic president.

Our borders would be effectively gone.

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Philip 5927 of AZ's picture

This is pure insanity of how much Obama destroys our country. He doesn't give a damn about border security. Remember that last year Obama closed 9 border patrol stations so he made it more easy for illegal invaders to cross the borders. Why are so many corrupt politicians letting it happen? They want our country without the border for their votes, power and money. No country? Possibly yes! President Jefferson's best quote is "a country with no border is not a country."

Philip 5927 of AZ's picture

Obama is NOT the first president to refuse obeying federal immigration law. Really, it was George W. Bush who quietly opened the borders to so many illegal aliens. Remember that for no reason, he put some border patrol agents for trying to do their jobs to stop out of control flow of illegal aliens from crossing the borders. He is accountable for neglecting his duty.

Philip 5927 of AZ's picture

Oops! Correction: . . . for no reason, he put some border patrol agents in JAIL for trying to do their jobs to stop out of control flow of illegal aliens . . .

Karon 0150 of NC's picture

Yes, George W. Bush pushed illegal immigration on us, as Governor of Texas, and then as President. We may soon have to deal with another Bush, (Jeb Bush) who's views are quite the same as his brother. Every time I go back to my old neighborhood in Dallas, Texas, it's depressing to see the effects of illegal immigration on our neighborhood, public schools, jobs, crime, services, the list is unending financially.

Tom 3537 of CA's picture

the open border traitors we have in office are sickening, they show just by wasting time on this issue how much they want to finish off the country.

tax dollars by citizens pay their checks so citizens should be the only concern of public officials.

we are their bosses yet it seems we have let our employees control everything.

Aaron 8129 of ID's picture

That's ridiculous! Isn't our so called "leaders" and "respentives" doing anything to fix this problem?! All I ever see is more and more headlines daily of them pandering to the illegals!

Gene 5798 of TX's picture

I would like to see the CIA and FBI intel reports about what is known by them about who crosses the border, for what reasons. What do they know about the moods and/or suspected action planned by aliens here if we did make serious attempts at border closure and deportation.

The point of my inquisitive musings is this; is there a threat known to those agencies that exists that only Homeland Security committees are privy to other than the President? Does a threat exist from outside our nation if we shift gears on aliens?

A friend of mine and I have discussed this many times over the last 7 years. It got started when I suggested marching our army into Mexico to provide security, he said,"Remember, there are going to be 12 million of them behind you!" Then added that we would have two fronts to defend or be squeezed between two forces.

I am not trying to make anyone fearful. However I always think that there is more to this than we are being told. Why would our government allow so many to be raped, killed, outright murdered, then be compassionate with the perpetrators unless the government is fearful of consequences. It is likely not military threats that would cause them to be that cautious, we are the most powerful military force in the world. Who could "strangle" us financially, or trade -- oil cartels, maybe.

Sure would like the CIA intel on this! Any comments or criticisms welcome. Maybe those working the Halls of Congress can phish or keep an ear near the door. Maybe I should challenge a newspaper for an op-ed. Not sure I'm the guy to write it.

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Florence 0183 of NJ's picture

I am so sure there is MORE to this, I am with your point, but doesn't matter the number behind us, that is the reason for military, right...go to - then scroll down to & click on, "How to stop this: Denver hires illegal alien as teacher"...its a long article, but read as much as you can, lots of good stuff on this website, click on articles on the sidebars also...I doubt the CIA, FBI and surely not the Congress actively bursting a blood vessel over this, it seems that we the citizens are the think tanks about how to protect our country from the hordes, we just need backup! We are the victims of this outrageous administration! If I had my way, I would rescind the 1986 and after amnesties and kick them all out of here and put armed military at our borders and build a wall like the great wall of china.

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None 2150 of WY's picture

Reading all the above comments speak loudly and are resonated though out this country. But, really, how do these politicians get away with defying the laws of the land.

The constitution has been spit upon and our flag is carried by no one that can stop this illegal invasion. WHY?

Karon 0150 of NC's picture

I ask myself this same question all the time. I think we need to find out whether their mattress has been stuffed with something. $$$$$$$$

Sylvia 4936 of CA's picture

Please help with comments or calls!
Local News show supports illegal immigration!

Fox 11 LA KTTV News encouraging illegal immigration!

Carlos Will Do Anything to Finish College - Even Wash Windows

Contact Main line 310-584-2000 or
submits comments below!

Lynn&Bill 5611 of NC's picture

A bit off topic here but cannot find another way to comment. I have been calling regarding the various issues from Boehner's childish rant to DHS enforcement. Burr's (NC Senator, R)office staffer who works on Homeland Security issues said she was 'unaware of any move/discussion to stop deportations'. Hagan's (NC Senator, D) office said there had been no immigration bill passed in 2 years, that 744 was passed in 2012. I believe 744 passed the Senate last year, not 2012, but has not been taken up by the House. He also said that Hagan does not support amnesty and we argued over terminology and that there is no amnesty provision of any kind in (I believe) 744. Is this the new way to deflect comments from constituents.

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Jeremy 6711 of NJ's picture

Yes, S. 744 was passed by the Senate in 2013. Instead of asking about amnesty, ask if they support legalization and work permits for people in the country illegally. It's harder to wiggle out of that one. It's also a good idea to ask if they support doubling permanent immigration and guest workers, which S. 744 also would do.

John 4110 of MI's picture

For most crimes amnesty is given for a past crime. The crime has ended and the amnesty eliminates further punishment for the crime.

In the immigration discussion amnesty used to mean not only elimination of any penalties but the granting a permanent license (permission) to forever continue the act now judged illegal.

Any meaningful enforcement has to stop the crime (removal). The President or any of the pro immigration crime people never have on the table an alternative to removal that is so large to be a deterrent. Illegals spend as much as $20k to be escorted across the border. Illegal children often cost tax payers near $10k a year per child per year. Has anyone proposed a fine of similar magnitude as the more gentle alternative (say $100k)

The amnesty penalties discussed hardly rise to the level of tokens.

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Regina 9056 of NC's picture

My heart and sentiments go out to you, Gene. As a mother, I can only imagine the pain. You are doing the right thing by continuing to fight in your own way against what has allowed so many illegal aliens into our country, resulting in your and so many others' losses. Best regards.

Philip 5927 of AZ's picture

"Illegal immigration is a victimless crime" sounds like they won't harm anything or anyone, even a fly or flea as anti-enforcement activists claim. That's totally false! Illegal aliens are responsible for causing an unusually large drain on public funds. Also, they are ID thieves, drug smugglers, you name it. So many American citizens are being killed in accumulation of traffic accidents by illegal aliens who are DUI or DWI drivers, violently fast drivers or can't read English in traffic signs without a license. They still stay here! "Media Ignore Americans Killed By Illegal Aliens 'DREAMers'" by Tony Lee for Breitbart (8/26/13). Sonia Sotomayor was very emotional and angry to say that labeling illegal as 'criminals' is 'insulting.' It is obvious she always defends them even though they repeat being deported and repeat to enter our country. I do believe that she is one of the Supreme Court judges who quickly dismissed most cases that is related to illegal aliens. She never explained why. The public has no communication from her. It is not a good sign that she was involved in La Raza in the past. She needs to be replaced with a honest, conscientious judge.

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Florence 0183 of NJ's picture

the FL legislature voted yesterday to allow illegals to practice law...just what we need an illegal lawyer defending and promoting amnesty for illegals

Barbara 1933 of WA's picture

What is happening to the US has already happened in the EU. There is at least two countries that are on the verge of passing laws that will put a stop to the free flow of migrants into their countries which are taking jobs from the citizens. I think Obama is trying to copy what the European Union has done the past 20 years. Most of this has been a disaster for the populations of many of the smaller EU countries like Greece. Which will also be a disaster for the US as well. Immigration needs to be stopped for at least 15 to 20 years only allowing in the most highly educated as needed. Encourage the businesses that have moved their manufacturing to China to return to the US and put the unemployed back to work. This is what Obama should have been doing once he was in office instead of throwing our borders open wider to encourage the free flow of all of Mexico and South America across our border European Union style. Keep in mind that for several years there was talk of a EU style flow of workers back and forth between the US, Canada and Mexico. It finally died down because I don't believe Canada was very interested in allowing all of that cross border movement into their country, but Obama and the president of Mexico are very interested in it.

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John 9538 of OH's picture

There are 800 million people living in Latin American, half of them, 400 million, live on less than $5 per day. If liberals believe that it is alright for Mexicans to enter the USA illegally and be put on a path to US citizenship, then shouldn't the other 400 million poor people in Latin American have the same right? The USA cannot take in that many poor people, instead these people should register to vote in their countries and peacefully change their countries so that all their people can have a better life rather than only the rich.

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