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American Immigration Council
April 11, 2014

New Reports Undermine Obama Administration’s Claims About Deportations
By Walter Ewing

Immigrant advocates and serious researchers have known for years that the deportation dragnet cast by the Obama administration is capturing thousands and thousands of people who pose no serious threat to public safety. This week, the New York Times and the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University each independently confirmed this conclusion. They did so through comprehensive analyses of data obtained from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests (not included were deportation numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection). Both investigations thoroughly undermine the administration’s claim that it is going after “criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families.” TRAC found that, in FY 2013, the top three criminal convictions among deportees were illegal entry into the country (46,759), driving under the influence (29,852), and traffic offenses (15,548). Also populating the top-20 list were other immigration offenses, such as illegal re-entry into the country (3,992) and possession of fraudulent immigration documents (1,994). Compared to traffic and immigration offenses, relatively few deportations involved individuals convicted of more serious crimes, such as larceny (3,845), burglary (3,076), and domestic violence (1,849). This emphasis on immigration and traffic violations is indicative of some very skewed enforcement priorities.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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