National Data | Deportations Decreasing, NOT Increasing, Under Obama
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In order to appear tough on immigration enforcement, the Obama Administration's bureaucrats have been inundating the media with misinformation. And—surprise, surprise—their MSM cronies oblige with credulous fluff.

Case in point, this from the Washington Post:

"In a bid to remake the enforcement of federal immigration laws, the Obama administration is deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants… 


"The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects to deport about 400,000 people this fiscal year, nearly 10 percent above the Bush administration's 2008 total and 25 percent more than were deported in 2007. The pace of company audits has roughly quadrupled since President George W. Bush's final year in office."


Deportation of illegal immigrants increases under Obama administration, By Peter Slevin,  July 26, 2010 


Apparently John Morton, the head of ICE who was interviewed for the article, does not often visit his agency's website. Neither does the article's author, reporter Peter Slevin. (email him)


But we did. And after clicking on "FY2007-FY2010 Removal Statistics", the problem with these assertions became stark:


Total Deportations, FY2007-FY2010



% change










FY2010 (1st 9 months)



(a) From same period of the prior FY. Data source: ICE Removals 2007-2010 Excel Spreadsheet 

In FY2008—George W. Bush's last full fiscal year—deportations rose a whopping 26.8% from the prior year. But growth slowed to 5.6% in FY2009, the last eight months of which were on Obama's watch.

And now the rate of deportations in has actually turned negative. As things stand now, Fiscal 2010, which started on October 1, 2009 and is Obama's first full year, is on course to be the first since FY2002 in which deportations will have declined.

And it's very hard to see how Morton's blithe estimate of "about 400,000" deportations can be reached.

In six of the first nine months of FY2010, deportations have declined from the corresponding month of the prior year. The largest decline—16%—occurred in May.

As of this writing the ICE website provides deportation numbers through July 22, 2010. Prorating the 22 days of July you get a full month total of 19,200 deportations, which is 45% below the 34,819 deportations recorded in July 2009.

There is a lot of seasonal noise in deportation activity. Deportations seem to spike in summer months and sink in the winter. This is why it is useful to compare monthly deportation activity over the course of a year with that of the same month in the prior year.

One graphic is worth many thousands of words:

Upon taking office at the end of January 2009, the Obama administration seems to have implemented an immediate and profound change in deportation policy. At first, it was merely a fall in the rate of deportation growth. More recently it has produced an unprecedented reduction in the number of deportations.

And, based on my projection of July, the deportation decline is deepening.

To be sure, not all types of deportations have declined. Convicted criminal removals rose 37% in the first nine months of FY2010 compared to the same period of FY2009.


Mr. Morton credits Obama's "rational" immigration policy for this, adding: "You've got to have aggressive enforcement against criminal offenders. You have to have a secure border. You have to have some integrity in the system."

Reality check: most of the rise in criminal deportations is attributable to the "Secure Communities" program, a Bush initiative inherited by Mr. Obama. While ICE takes full credit for expanding the program, the real impetus comes from state and local governments. They are sick and tired of footing the bill for holding illegal aliens in their lock ups.

But "Non-criminal" deportations fell to 142,100 in the first nine months of FY2010, from 188,000 in the same period last year—a 24% decline. This category includes illegals busted in workplace raids or identified by those employer audits that ICE claims are a more effective way to enforce immigration laws in the workplace.

Even in the Great Depression, there are far more illegal aliens working than in jail in the U.S. It is scandalous that their deportations are declining while American unemployment remains at such historic highs.

Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.

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