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A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are in fact at record lows, not the record highs claimed by Obama administration officials. This has occured because a shift in routine Border Patrol casework to ICE has allowed the latter to artificially increase deportation numbers.

The total number of deportations from interior enforcement, the only deportations traditionally counted in ICE's statistics, fell by 19% from 2011 to 2012.  This number is on track to decline another 22% in 2013. When the administration claims it deports a record number of illegal aliens, it appears to only count removals, which is only one form of deportation, and a partial measure of enforcement.

"It was astounding to discover that ICE has been arresting and removing so few illegal aliens from inside the country, considering that they have better tools and more resources at their disposal than ever before, and considering that there is an abundance of criminal aliens and illegal workers who should be removed," said Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center. "They have used statistical smoke and mirrors to obscure the disastrous results of so-called prosecutorial discretion and other enforcement-suppressing policies. The next step in immigration reform should be to restore credibility to ICE's interior programs, especially including worksite enforcement and Secure Communities."

Despite completion of the Secure Communities program, criminal alien arrests have fallen 11% in the last year. ICE agents have refused to act when notified about the local or state arrest of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.

Total deportations are at their lowest number since 1973.

Here are the report's key findings:

  • The number of deportations resulting from interior enforcement by ICE declined by 19 percent from 2011 to 2012, and is on track to decline another 22 percent in 2013.
  • In 2012, the year the Obama administration claimed to break enforcement records, more than one-half of removals attributed to ICE were the result of Border Patrol arrests that would never have been counted as a removal in prior years. In 2008, under the Bush administration, only one-third of removals were from Border Patrol arrests.
  • Total deportations in 2011, the latest year for which complete numbers are available, numbered 715,495 – the low­est level since 1973. The highest number of deportations on record was in 2000, under the Clinton administration, when 1,864,343 aliens were deported.
  • When claiming record levels of enforcement, the Obama administration appears to count only removals, which are just one form of deportation, and only a partial measure of enforcement. Beginning in 2011, a shift of some of the routine Border Patrol case load to ICE enabled the administration to count an artificially high number of removals.
  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the division of ICE that is responsible for work site enforcement, combat­ing transnational gangs, overstay enforcement, anti-smuggling and trafficking activity, and busting document and identity theft rings, now contributes very little to immigration enforcement. In 2013 HSI has produced only four percent of ICE deportations, making just a few thousand arrests per year throughout the entire country.
  • ICE is doing less enforcement with more resources. Despite reporting more encounters in 2013 than 2012, ICE agents pursued deportation of 20 percent fewer aliens this year than last.
  • Enforcement activity declined in every ICE field office from 2011 to 2013, with the biggest declines in the Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Washington DC/Virginia, and Houston field offices.
  • Criminal alien arrests declined by 11 percent from 2012 to 2013, despite the completion of the Secure Communi­ties program, which generates more referrals of arrested aliens than ever before. ICE agents took a pass on hun­dreds of thousands of aliens who were arrested by local authorities in those years.
  • ICE is carrying a case load of 1.8 million aliens who are either in removal proceedings or have already been or­dered removed. Less than two percent are in detention, which is the only proven way to ensure departure.
  • As of the end of July 2013 there were 872,000 aliens – nearly half of ICE’s total docket – who had been ordered removed but who had not left the country.
  • The State Department continues to issue tens of thousands of visas annually to citizens of countries that refuse to take back their countrymen who are ordered removed from the United States. Many of these are violent criminals.

You can read the full report here.

Interior Enforcement
border control

Updated: Thu, Oct 31st 2013 @ 11:08am EDT