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The Public Record
January 10, 2012

Obama Immigration Agency Exaggerating Deportations
By William Fisher

Analysts at Syracuse University have concluded that the Obama Administration’s figures for the number of people deported from the US are being grossly overestimated. Analysis of government immigration data provided to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University in late December — almost two years after TRAC had requested it — show that “many fewer individuals were apprehended, detained and deported by the agency than were claimed in its official statements” — congressional testimony, press releases, and the agency’s latest 2010 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, TRAC said. In its initial FOIA request in May 2010, TRAC asked for specific information about all individuals who had been arrested, detained, charged, returned or removed from the country for the period beginning October 1, 2004 to date. According to TRAC, “in its initial and incomplete response, however, ICE so far has only provided TRAC with information through FY 2005. The agency said it would provide detailed information about the more recent years later.” When compared with various public statements by the agency, however, TRAC’s analysis of this limited case-by-case information provided found vast discrepancies. Among them: ICE statements claimed almost five times more individual apprehensions than revealed in the data, as well as 24 times more individuals deported and 34 times more detentions. Those records were provided to TRAC by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). When the PBS series, “Frontline,” did an hour-long piece on the immigration situation in the US today, a White House immigration spokesperson confirmed that the Obama Administration is deporting 400,000 people every year and racking up the largest number of deportations of any president in American history TRAC says, “Details about the vast differences between the agency activities documented by the data and its public statements are laid out in a FOIA appeal filed by TRAC on January 4. The surprising size of the discrepancies, the TRAC appeal said, indicated that either “ICE has been making highly exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the level of its enforcement activities,” or it is “withholding on a massive scale.”

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2012
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