The Obama administration removed the lowest number of immigrants from U.S. since the beginning of his presidency in fiscal year 2015, according to year-end data released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to the ICE removal data, there were 235,413 deportations in FY 2015, down from 315,943 removals in FY 2014.
Previous years have seen more deportations than FY 2014 and FY 2015 — in FY 2008 ICE deported 369,221 immigrants, in FY 2009 there were 389,834 removals, in FY 2010 there were 392,862 removals, in FY 2011 there were 396,906 removals, in FY 2012 there were 409,849 removals, and in FY 2013 there were 368,644 removals.
The Obama administration argued that the new numbers show it is focusing its attention on individuals who “threaten public safety and national security” pointing out that 98 percent of the removals ICE conducted “met ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.”
Of the 235,413 removals conduced in FY 2015, ICE removed 165,935 individuals apprehended at the border and 63,539 removals were of immigrants convicted of a crime.
According to ICE, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador were the “leading countries of origin for removals.”
Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson said in a statement that the number reflect three factors, the first being a focus on prioritizing criminals and security threats.
“Second, the removal numbers were driven by the dramatic decrease in those apprehended at the border in FY 2015 — 337,117 — the second lowest apprehension number since 1972, reflecting a lower level of attempted illegal migration at our borders. Third, to improve the transparency of our efforts, for the second year in a row, we are releasing the immigration statistics of CBP and ICE together, rather than piecemeal, to provide a single, clear snapshot of our overall immigration enforcement picture,” Johnson added.
While the Obama administration patted itself on the back for removing criminal aliens, the Center for Immigration Studies highlighted that the removals of criminals from the interior of the U.S. actually declined 27 percent compared to the year before. In a press release CIS highlighted earlier testimony from Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan.
“These abysmal deportation numbers are the result of deliberate policy choices made by President Obama to dismantle immigration enforcement, all the while telling Congress and the public that he was accomplishing “record” deportations,” Vaughan said.
This willful neglect has imposed enormous costs on American communities. In addition to the distorted labor markets and higher tax bills for social welfare benefits that result from uncontrolled illegal immigration, the Obama administration’s anti-enforcement policies represent a threat to public safety from criminal aliens that ICE officers are told to release instead of detain and remove.