Since President Obama took office, the number of non-citizens Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sought to deport but did not due to the ruling of a judge, requests from the government or the use of prosecutorial discretion have increased 42 percent.
According to data collected by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) in Fiscal Year 2009, 57,476 non-citizens ICE sought to remove were allowed to stay. TRAC projects that by the end of FY 2015 the number of non-citizens allowed to stay despite ICE pushing for removal will be 100,012.
The interim years have seen a relatively gradual increase to the 2015 projection.
In FY 2010, 68,666 non-citizens were allowed to remain, in FY 2011 that number dipped slightly to 67,875 but increased in FY 2012 to 77,107. The number of non-citizens avoiding deportation jumped in FY 2013 to 90,367 and in FY 2014 that number was 91,015.
TRAC’s data looks specifically at completed immigration judge determinations on ICE removal requests.
“Examples of reasons why an individual may be allowed to remain in the country include situations where the judge finds the charges against the individual are not sustained (or the government requests that the charges be dropped), as well as where the judge finds other provisions in the immigration law entitle the individual ‘relief’ from removal,” TRAC explains.
The database noted that in addition to the determination by the judge on the merits of the case, requests from the government to close the case as well as prosecutorial discretion also play a role.
“A person also may be allowed to remain because the government requests that the case be administratively closed. These numbers include Immigration Court cases closed through the exercise of ICE’s prosecutorial discretion,” TRAC adds.
By way of percentage comparisons, according to TRAC’s database, in FY 2009 non-citizens who avoided deportation, despite ICE’s removal attempt, represented 23.8 percent of completed cases in immigration courts. For FY 2015, that percentage is expected to be more than half, or 51.6 percent.