Rep. Lamar Smith
Rep. Lamar Smith


The Obama Administration justified its June 15, 2012 directive that allows illegal aliens who meet certain criteria to receive deferred action and work permits by its record level of deportations. The directive is the subject of the recent lawsuit filed by a group of 10 ICE agents and officers against DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton. But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith says the Administration is "cooking the books" in reporting its deportation figures.

To read the full press release from the House Judiciary Committee, click here

The Administration has said in defense of its amnesty for young illegal aliens that it doesn't have the resources to remove both the illegal aliens and the record number of criminal illegal aliens it reports that its deporting. The House Judiciary Committee, however, has obtained the records of the Administration's deportation data and say they are including numbers from the Alien Transfer Exit Program (ATEP) in their deportation numbers. ATEP is a program that removes illegal aliens apprehended by Border Patrol when they're caught crossing the border illegally. Judiciary Chairman Smith says these figures should not be counted as ICE removals.

Internal Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee reveal that President Obama and other administration officials have falsified their record to achieve their so-called historic deportation numbers. Administration officials claim that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has deported a record number of illegal immigrants but the facts show that they have fabricated their deportation statistics by illegitimately adding over 100,000 removals to their deportation figures for the past two years.

Since 2011, the Obama administration has included numbers from a Border Patrol program that returns illegal immigrants to Mexico right after they cross the Southwest border in their year-end deportation statistics. It is dishonest to count illegal immigrants apprehended by the Border Patrol along the border as ICE removals. And these ‘removals’ from the Border Patrol program do not subject the illegal immigrant to any penalties or bars for returning to the U.S. This means a single illegal immigrant can show up at the border and be removed numerous times in a single year – and counted each time as a removal. When the numbers from this Border Patrol program are removed from this year’s deportation data, it shows that removals are actually down nearly 20% from 2009. Another 40,000 removals are also included in the final deportation count but it is unclear where these removals came from.

In a campaign season when Administration officials have made a habit of spinning their numbers to ignore their real record, it’s no surprise that they are doing the same to their immigration record. It seems like President Obama is trying to trick the American people into thinking he is enforcing our immigration laws. But no amount of spin can cover up the facts. It’s bad enough that the President has neglected to enforce our immigration laws but it’s even worse that his Administration would distort statistics to deceive the American people.

-- Chairman Lamar Smith 

When ATEP removals are subtracted from ICE’s deportation numbers, the 2011 removal total would drop from approximately 397,000 to roughly 360,000 and the 2012 removal total would drop from about 334,000 to around 263,000 (annualized this is estimated to be a drop from about 400,000 to 315,000).  This means that ICE removals for this year will be about 14% below 2008 (369,000) and 19% below 2009 (389,000).

The internal documents also reveal a discrepancy between arrests and actual removals.  Specifically, ICE has reported 221,656 arrests yet report 334,249 removals for 2012 so far – a discrepancy of nearly 112,000 removals.  ATEP accounts for 72,030 removals within this discrepancy, but there are over 40,000 removals that remain unaccounted for.

For more information on the ICE agents' complaint against DHS officials, click here. 

Illegal Immigration
Interior Enforcement

Updated: Thu, Jun 15th 2017 @ 3:03pm EDT