Putting TRAC to Work
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The New York Times
April 9, 2014

The Obama Deportation Debacle
By Lawrence Downes

On Tuesday, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research organization at Syracuse University that studies immigration statistics, reported similar findings. It found that in fiscal year 2013, “only 12 percent of all deportees had been found to have committed a serious or ‘Level 1’ offense based on the agency’s own definitions.” The administration has defended its record in deporting huge numbers of “convicted criminals.” But the TRAC report noted some slipperiness in how that term is used. ICE currently uses an exceedingly broad definition of criminal behavior: even very minor infractions are included. For example, anyone with a traffic ticket for exceeding the speed limit on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway who sends in their check to pay their fine has just entered ICE’s “convicted criminal” category. If the same definitions were applied to every citizen — rather than just to noncitizens — available evidence (see TRAC’s February 2012 report) suggests that the majority of U.S. citizens would be considered convicted criminals.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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