2013 Deportations of Undocumented Reach Record High
by Derek Gilna
Since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, deportations of undocumented immigrants have climbed every year, and 2013 was no exception. In fiscal year 2013, 438,421 individuals were deported from the United States, according to newly released DHS statistics.
This occurred even while the Obama Administration sought comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and despite issuance of an executive order granting relief from deportation and work permits to 580,946 young undocumented students. In the past 6 years, the number of people removed from the country against their well far surpassed the totals of the previous administration of George W. Bush, reaching 2 million people. According to some immigrant-rights advocates, President Obama has become the “deporter in chief,” having surpassed in five years more individuals than Bush did in his eights years in office.
The non-partisan Pew Research Center has conducted surveys which disclose that Americans of Hispanic descent disapprove of the large number of deportation, most of whom are Hispanics. According to Pew, 89% of Hispanics support a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, but feel that deportation relief should be an even higher priority.
Part of the increase in deportations can be attributed on a 2005 change in deportation policy that permitted some individuals to be removed from the country without the necessity of a court appearance. Many of those types of individuals were previously arrested, released on bond, and then failed to appear for their court dates. Now those apprehended can often be excluded based upon merely an order of deportation issued and signed by an enforcement agent in a process known as expedited removal, or by those same agents executing a previously-issued court order of deportation without the necessity of a new court hearing. Although DHS claims that deportation is a needed tool to exclude convicted criminals, the Pew study showed that the increase in deportations was higher among those without a criminal record.
President Obama met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, many of whom had been critical of the administrations deportation policy. At that meet, the President hinted that after the Congressional elections in 2014 he will consider taking executive action to reduce the number of deportations if Congress does not act.
Source: “U.S. deportations of immigrants reach record high in 2013,” by Ana Gonzalez-Barrera and Jens Manuel Krogstad, www.pewresearch.org, October 2, 2014