Obama Deports Fewer Immigrants Than Last Year, But Not By Very Much

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Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that President Obama, in a move carefully calculated to outrage both liberals and conservatives, deported slightly fewer undocumented immigrants in 2013 than in 2012. According to ICE, the agency’s “year-end removal numbers” — which sounds like something involving plants, not people — were about 40,000 lower than last year’s numbers. That’s undoubtedly great for the 40,000 who were spared; for the roughly 370,000 who weren’t, it’s probably not very comforting. 151,000 of the people who were deported didn’t have criminal records.

This is sort of policy that, as with any good compromise, leaves everybody feeling angry and slighted. For those who generally oppose immigration, deporting fewer undocumented workers is outrageous and unacceptable. For those who support a more lenient immigration policy, sending 370,000 people out of the country is outrageous and unacceptable. The only ones happy with this news are people who thought 410,000, last year’s total, was way too many deportations, but 370,000 is just right. In other words, nobody.

By the end of the year, Obama will have overseen roughly 1.8 million deportations since taking office. That’s 200,000 less than President Bush, who deported 2 million immigrants during his tenure; then again, Obama still has three years left, so it seems inevitable that he’ll eventually surpass Bush’s total. This is especially true now that immigration reform, perhaps the last hope for a significant drop in deportations, wasn’t deemed worthy for a vote in the House of Representatives b Speaker John Boehner.

Also, just to put this in perspective: 2 million deportations is more than the total number of deportations ever before 1997.