The Obama administration has deported more immigrants than any American president—so many that the 10 percent drop in forced departures in the 2013 fiscal year from 2012 is only a "drop in the bucket," according to immigrant advocates.
“President Obama is on pace to break the two million deportations record any day now,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. She called the 10 percent decrease “a drop in the bucket.”
“Only a much larger drop would be significant,” Salas said.
The ICE has never before broken down its deportation statistics. It showed that this year, two-thirds of foreigners were forced back to their home countries while crossing the border, with the remaining third arrested within the country. Fifty-nine percent had been convicted of a crime, and 82 percent of those picked up within United States borders, a new record.
According to officials, 98 percent were convicted criminals, national security risks, serious immigration offenders or recent border crossers, all prioritized categories for deportation.
Acting ICE Director John Sandweg said the decline was due to the changing face of immigration, with more foreigners coming to the U.S. from Central America, which draws out the deportation process, and the fact they “did a better job of identifying serious criminal offenders."
While the number of immigrants from countries like Honduras and Guatamala has been steadily climbing, the majority of deportees in 2013 were from Mexico, Reuters reported.
Despite the seeming emphasis on deporting criminals with serious crimes on their records, the numbers for the first two months of the 2014 fiscal year tell another story. 637 of the 17,689 individuals who were forced to depart, or one in 25, were convicted of aggravated felonies, according to a report by the nonpartisan think tank the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.