The number of illegal immigrants deported from the U.S. has hit almost a decade-low over the last 12 months. Overall, this past year has seen 231,000 undocumented immigrants deported by the Obama administration, roughly 136,700 of them having criminal records.
Data analysis reveals that from Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 28, 2015, the number of total deportations has dropped by 42 percent since 2012, according to the Associated Press. These government figures do not include immigrants caught at the border and promptly sent back by U.S. border patrol.
Last year, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asked for immigration authorities to focus on undocumented immigrants who had criminal records and who posed a security risk. Despite this, the number of deported criminals has decreased over the last 12 months.
The last 12 months also mark the first time that more immigrants from other countries have flocked to the U.S. than those from Mexico. Over 257,000 non-Mexican immigrants were caught at the border during 2014, many from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The number of deportations from the U.S. has peaked during President Barack Obama’s presidency, CBS reports. The number of undocumented immigrants jettisoned from the U.S. increased from 360,000 during President George W. Bush’s final year in office to over 438,000 in 2013.
Illegal immigration and border control has been a contentious topic during the 2016 presidential race. Republican candidate Donald Trump has made the construction of a wall to close off the U.S.-Mexico border a key proposal in his campaign, CNN reports. He would also deport illegal immigrants en masse, including children born in the country to undocumented parents.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been critical of Obama’s aggressive deportation methods, CBS reports.
"The deportation laws were interpreted and enforced very aggressively during the last six and a half years, which I think his administration did in part to try to get Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform," Clinton said in an interview with Telemundo on Oct. 5. "It was part of a strategy. I think that strategy is no longer workable.”
Clinton has promised to be welcoming to undocumented immigrants already living in the country and find ways to make them legitimate, contributing citizens.
"I will not be doing what we've seen too much of, which is trying to, you know, make immigrants the scapegoat for everything that people are concerned about in the country,” Clinton said. “I think everybody is entitled to a second chance. And I don't want see families disrupted, families deported. I want to see comprehensive immigration reform.”