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Deportations of illegal immigrant children have decreased under the Obama administration even though there has been a drastic increase in the number of illegal immigrant children who have tried to enter the country since 2008. Many of those illegal immigrants from Central America have been lured by President Barack Obama’s promises of executive actions to ease deportations, especially for children.
The Los Angeles Times obtained data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under a Freedom of Information Act request that indicate “the number of immigrants under 18 who were deported or turned away at ports of entry fell from 8,143 in 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, to 1,669 last year.”
In addition, while “about 600 minors were ordered deported each year from non-border states a decade ago,” only 95 were deported last year even though there have been at least a fivefold increase in the number of illegal immigrant children who have been crossing the border. The recent surge in illegal immigrant children from Central America came right after Obama unilaterally enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 that gave temporary amnesty to certain illegal immigrant DREAMers.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, “during the decade preceding fiscal year 2012, the federal government agency tasked with caring for unaccompanied minors who cross the border illegally dealt with an average of 7,000 to 8,000 cases a year.” In fiscal year 2011, there were 6,560, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
But in the fiscal year after Obama enacted the DACA program, there were 13,625 illegal immigrant children who crossed the border, according to the Monitor. Since October of last year, there have been at least 50,000. And federal officials estimate that there will be 150,000-160,000 more illegal immigrant children who will attempt to illegally enter the country next year.
A 2008 law, which was signed by President George W. Bush, requires that illegal immigrant children from countries other than Mexico be treated differently. The law, which many believe should be changed, says those children can be placed with a “suitable family member” in the United States. Under that law, federal authorities are required to place those children in “the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child,” which can include “placement in an Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program” if they do not have a parent in the United States.