Jeremy Beck's picture


  by  Jeremy Beck

USA Today's April 15th story, "Obama deporter in chief? Not quite." by Alan Gomez is the most straightforward and succinct attempt to clarify President Obama's deportation record to date. Gomez writes:

Much has been made in recent weeks over President Obama's deportation record.

Critics say he's ignored his responsibility to enforce the nation's laws and allowed undocumented immigrants to roam free. Immigration advocates say he's escalated enforcement to a record-setting pace, tearing apart good, hard-working families in the process.

So which is it? A slew of news articles and think tank reports have used reams of deportation data to come up with wildly varying conclusions. But the fact is this: The number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. deported by the Obama administration has fallen in each year he's been in office.

Deporter in chief? Far from it.

Emphasis mine. Gomez adds, "of the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the country, fewer than 70,000 who have led generally peaceful lives here were deported last year." For those doing the math, that works out to about .00583 percent.

How does .00583 percent make a "record"? Gomez explains:

Yes, the Obama administration says it deports 400,000 people annually, recently passing the 2 million mark throughout the president's time in office. But the majority of those cases involve people caught by Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border and processed through Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In years past, those people would have been quickly shipped back to Mexico. But starting under President George W. Bush, many of those people are being handed over to ICE so that the agency can formally charge them.

USA Today is the latest major publication to pull back the curtain on the "record deportation" and "deporter in chief" claims but it certainly isn't alone. On April 1st, the Los Angeles Times reported:

Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009....

....the number of people deported at or near the border has gone up -- primarily as a result of changing who gets counted in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's deportation statistics.

On March 12th, the Washington Times reported:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged Tuesday that his department's deportation numbers are now mostly made up of illegal immigrants caught at the border, not just those from the interior, which means they can't be compared one-to-one with deportations under President Bush or other prior administrations.

Emphasis mine. The mainstream media is slowly adopting a new conventional wisdom on deportations. The narrative is changing. But there are holdouts. The Washington Post, for instance, has yet to acknowledge or address the revelations of how the Obama Administration juiced their numbers. The New York Times on the other hand is sticking with the "record" claim (defiantly so, one might say). But even the New York Times has had to add caveats to the "record deportation" narrative. One NYT story begrudgingly wrote: "Despite the record deportations, {Republicans} said {Obama's} shift in emphasis to the border had resulted in a decline in the removals from the interior of the country -- a trend borne out by the records."

Another New York Times story amusingly acknowledged "a major shift in enforcement geography." That story, "Court Deportations Drop 43 Percent in Past Five Years," by Julia Preston also reported that removals have declined in recent years, even with the boost from border apprehensions:

...lower numbers from the courts contributed to a drop in overall deportations last year, when enforcement agents made 368,644 removals, a 10 percent decrease from 2012.

Removals in 2014 are on pace to drop for the second year in a row, even with the added border apprehensions.

Expect the media's deportation narrative to continue to shift as more publications grapple with how to put the protests to stop all deportations - even for people caught entering the U.S. illegally - in the proper context of President Obama's actual record. Over the past couple of months, the mainstream media has widely accepted a few facts that would have been quickly dismissed just one year ago:

  1. More than half of removals under Obama are border apprehensions that wouldn't have been processed as removals by previous administrations;
  2. Removals have been declining for two years, even when you include the border apprehensions;
  3. Removals from the interior have declined 40 percent since Obama took office; and
  4. Total deportations (removals plus returns) under Obama are at the lowest levels in decades.

More on the media's deportation coverage here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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

Attrition through Enforcement
Barack Obama
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.
Terri 9170 of IL's picture

I said from the very beginning it was all a ruse, La Raza accuses him of being "reporter in chief" then he has to pressure the Republicans publicly, then he has to announce he's going to issue an executive amnesty because the Republicans won't do "the will of the people." All just a con game to get an amnesty before the elections.

Jeremy 6711 of NJ's picture

That's right, Terri. I could have added that to the list of facts now widely accepted by the media. Although the White House officially says the changes they implemented were strictly for policy reasons, most stories about Obama's deportation record acknowledge that there was a conscious attempt to look strong on deportations in order to win more votes for amnesty and immigration expansion. The trick was to give the impression of tough enforcement while doing almost nothing to reduce the number of people living illegally within the United States that the White House hopes to legalize.

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Mara 0417 of VA's picture

I'm guessing that the efforts NOW are less about trying to correct the record, than the realization that the lies haven't worked to get amnesty but have led to Latinos believing that there really have been record deportations and are an effort to reclaim the "Latino vote" before the midterm elections.

Albert 3441 of PA's picture

Mara - Yours is a more likely explanation of this modified turnabout than any change of heart by the MSM. Who knows, maybe even Pravda on the Potomac will eventually get on board with this strategy as Election Day 2014 approaches.

Robert 0160 of KY's picture

Well of course that's the case. No politician today(with the exception of some GOP) cares about the country or the job they're SUPPOSED to do; their only concern is votes, which leads to them getting re-elected, which leads to more wealth for themselves. Greed has done us all in. The only problem is that 8/10 Americans are either too brainwashed, too stoned, or too dumb to care. As long as they can Facebook and tweet, all is well!

Terri 9170 of IL's picture

I wonder if the Latinos really do believe people are being deported or if the vocal ones are very happy to go along with the propaganda if it means they'll get what they want. Of course, it doesn't matter if the MSM gets it or not. They'll never turn against Obama until there's a new puppet in the WH the Robber Barons are paying them to support.
We were reading quotes from Woodrow Wilson this morning (president at a time very similar to our own). Very interesting. This is all just deja vu

Karon 0150 of NC's picture

I saw this story on the internet today, on illegal aliens in N. Carolina who have committed child molestations in March of 2014. I was wondering... is there any way to get a monthly State by State child molestation total? Then we could do updated blogs on it, as a group, as we address reasons not to grant Amnesty to illegal immigrants. Any thoughts?

Albert 3441 of PA's picture

I don't believe that the government - state or federal - will do anything to address this issue because it would be considered "culturally insensitive" by the invaders.

Aaron 8129 of ID's picture

In other words we couldn't "hurt their little feelings" while they get off scot free for these crimes! If we'd get caught doing this and other crimes it's off to jail for us citizens!

Gene 5798 of TX's picture

Because the government shirks the responsibility this goes on daily, many times daily, and it just maddens me!!! More evidence that we CANNOT vote democrat or republican for the sake of American children! Sure glad that I have'nt voted for major parties for a number of years, If 250 arrests made in one smaller state for sexual crimes against children committed by illegals WILL NOT convince you that neither major party is great for America, there is nothing that I can say that will be convincing!

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Van 0864 of VA's picture

I think the data are only compiled on a yearly basis. But the larger problem is that you won't always know if the perpetrator is an illegal alien. Not all jurisdictions check and, these days, ICE issues less illegal-alien detainer requests. That usually means the person is an illegal alien

Gene 5798 of TX's picture

I think the story linked reported that the month previous, the number of sexual crimes against children was 175? It appears that NC is tracking this, or that would indicate so. I hope so and I hope more states do it, the more that are informed the more citizens will get involved. But, you cannot sell me on "hard working."

John 4110 of MI's picture

Since the Democrats hold the Senate and 30 or so Republicans in the House support comprehensive amnesty, it would be impossible to impeach and remove Obama from office for even the most aggressive waiver of immigration enforcement. It seems that Obama is headed down the road of no passage of comprehensive amnesty then there will be almost no enforcement. Most Congress do not like laws to be passed without input and generally accept that having no enforcement and hence no immigration laws is not where they want to be - so that is the bind.

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John 4110 of MI's picture

Now that Obama has increased non enforcement (administrative dream act etc) will the absence of strong push back to the illegal acts assuredly lead to even more non enforcement? To this observer it seems inevitable. Republicans can not win by saying me to; they need a principled response.

John 4110 of MI's picture

I think the slow response to posting on this site has cause be to push post comment a second time leading to dual postings. I will try to resist the response.

Karen 6880 of AZ's picture

LISTEN HERE: (Ruthie is headquarterd out of New Ulm, MN)
Please join Ruthie this Thursday April 24th - 8 to 10 pm CST
with Guest Jim Gibson of the TBV = Texas Border Volunteers
Jim Gibson speaks at the 9pm hours
There is so much happening on our southern border than the Average Citizen is so unaware of
Our southern border is being invaded, it is unsecured and it is dangerous to the point of deadly
Jim will share with us the current status on the numbers crossing and reported by the TBV
Jim will share with us any updated and new information he has and we will discuss some of
the items below and other information Jim would like to share
Remember - the TBV is on the front lines in Texas - 70 miles north of the border and the
numbers of those spotted and caught - this far in the interior is ASTOUNDING, ALARMING
and proves the mantra that the southern border is more secure than ever is a LIE!!!!!
Jim Gibson will join the show at the top of the 9 O'Clock hour
Texas Border Volunteers

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John 4110 of MI's picture

The court ruled that the immigration workers did not have standing to force the administration from violating the law. With the make up of Congress there is no possibility of Obama being removed by impeachment. The House even seems unlikely to pass a resolution that call out Obama for illegal action - after all much of the leadership wants to pass immigration increase and amnesty legislation.
Is there any path in the courts to stop the illegal administration actions?

Van 0864 of VA's picture

The Texas District court denied the ICE Agents' lawsuit on a technicality. The judge said administrative remedies were available but not used. It's my understanding they're looking at next steps, including a possible appeal. The House passed legislation creating a path Congress could use to sue Obama when he fails to enforce the law. However, that legislation would need Senate approval and Obama's signature. Since that's a non-starter, the House should pass a resolution providing for the authority. It would not need Senate/Obama approval. They haven't done that thus far.

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Gene 5798 of TX's picture

As I said on another thread, "C'mon Congress do something positive to favorably impress me!" Oh, that's right, same two major parties that was there in '86, hope lingers but is dying!

Florence 0183 of NJ's picture

Thanks, Van...Monday morning I will call all of the Republican Congressmen/women and tell them to do just that. Many thanks!

William 6898 of AZ's picture

By now a lot of people know the liberals aren't above distorting facts and figures and outright lying. As far as I'm concerned ANYONE pushing amnesty and work-permits, ESPECIALLY in a time of high unemployment for Americans is no more than a traitor!