A year and a half into his presidency, Obama has reached a new low on immigration enforcement. Or rather, a new high. The most recent data released by Homeland Security
shows that immigration-related prosecutions initiated by ICE and the Border Patrol have reached levels comparable to those seen under the Bush administration. An analysis
from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University casts shadows on Obama's recent overtures on immigration reform.
According to TRAC:
The government reported that during April 2010 there were 7,822 new prosecutions referred by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), following 7,090
prosecutions in March. The total of 14,912 is the highest two-month total since September and October of 2008, when the combined figure was 16,127.
In addition, there were 2,119 new criminal prosecutions referred by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in April 2010, following a March figure of
2,026. The combined two-month total of 4,145 is the highest recorded since the creation of the agency in 2005. This surpasses previous highs of 3,777 in July and
August of 2008 and 3,787 in July and August of 2009.
Overall, the number of prosecutions topped 10,000, bringing overall levels of criminal immigration enforcement to Bush administration levels. (Note that "criminal" here refers
to a broad array of violations, including many nonviolent, relatively minor offenses.) The bar graph depicting prosecutions over time shows a through-line from the waning days of the Bush regime into the Obama administration. Border Patrol prosecutions in part icular have soared since the middle of Bush's second term, and the pattern has carried over well into Obama's first.
From February to April 2010, border patrol prosecution referrals from the Southwest Border jumped 45 percent. It was in April, too, that Obama, pressured by an increasingly
frustrated immigrant rights movement, began criticizing SB 1070 as "misguided."
Now it looks like Arizona was just trying to lend Obama a helping hand. The state accounts for nearly a third of border patrol prosecution referrals, topping every other
Southwestern district, according to TRAC