The Pew Research Center has recently released information that speaks to immigration enforcement policies as well as the criminal backgrounds of those who had been deported in 2013. After being labeled “deporter in chief” by the National Council of La Raza, President Obama requested a detailed review of 2013 statistics related to immigration laws, policies, and deportation proceedings.
President Obama then met with various immigration advocates and admitted to the group that deportation policy should be more humane and sensitive to how deportations will affect a family. According to the released information, about 60% of undocumented immigrants who were deported in 2013, were convicted of a federal or a state crime. Furthermore, of those deported, “33% had committed at least one felony - crimes ranging from murder to failure to appear in court, or at least three misdemeanors.”
After digesting those numbers, you are faced with the realization that over 150,000 immigrants were deported without having any criminal convictions. On top of that, 95,000 immigrants were deported with a criminal record that involved no more than two misdemeanors.
Most people have heard the news that deportations have increased since President Obama has taken office. His predecessor, George W. Bush, saw deportation numbers reaching approximately 252,000 each year. Compare that to the almost 396,000 deportations per year with Obama in the White House. To be fair, during Bush's last year in office, the president oversaw 360,000 deportations.
Keep in mind that the majority of deportations under Obama occurred at the border, rather than from the interior of the U.S. In fact, in 2013, about 64% of all deportations happened at the border. Unfortunately, this number is difficult to study because 2013 was the first year that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) reported this statistic.
Interestingly enough, Americans are pretty evenly divided on whether increased deportation numbers are a positive or negative thing. A recent Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults found that 45% of individuals say it is a good thing and 45% say it is a negative thing. After being dubbed “deporter in chief,” the president stood his ground by saying that he would not suspend deportations or increase the number of immigrants eligible for work permits under the 2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.
As I have noted in a previous blog post, the majority of Hispanics consider “relief from the threat of deportation” to be more important than “a chance at citizenship.” This is according to a Pew Research survey in the fall of 2013.
It is important for individuals to stay educated and informed about immigration laws and policies. The laws continue to be revised, updated, and changed. Immigration and immigration reform impacts all citizens in the U.S., not just immigrants.
If you are facing immigration charges and are seeking legal counsel, give my office a call. I have represented many individuals in the Tucson and Phoenix areas and I would be happy to sit down and have a consultation with you to discuss the facts of your case.