Infographic: Despite Obama’s Rhetoric, ICE Numbers Show Majority of Deportations Are Non-Criminal
Source: www.ice.gov [PDF]
Next week, the Senate will hold a hearing on a bill sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) which is intended to limit any authority the administration has to provide relief for immigrant communities. Among other things, the “Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act” or “HALT Act” would essentially strip the administration of its power to grant deferred action, in addition to reversing any deferred action wins gained since the bill’s introduction. The irony of this bill is that the very discretion it targets has, in reality, ineffectively been exercised by the administration.
Last month, ICE Director John Morton issued a memo [PDF] in which he emphasized that ICE practices a policy of discretion in deportations to promote “national security, border security and public safety,” and the President himself has also stated that the Administration’s focus is on removing those that are classified as violent offenders. And yet, despite these recent assurances and other supposed recommitments by the President to address our nation’s broken immigration system, the fact remains that little action has been taken to provide relief for immigrant families that remain vulnerable to separation, detainment, and removal from the country. Even as the administration insists that it is prioritizing prosecuting those who have committed serious crimes, the data shows a continued discrepancy between stated policy and action.
So far this year, deportations continue to be inexcusably equal for non-criminal and criminal immigrants alike [PDF]—and in fact, in the last three months more non-criminal immigrants have been deported than immigrants convicted of serious crimes. In the months of March, April and May this year, ICE deported 11,639 more non-criminal immigrants than those with actual criminal records, bringing the total number of non-criminal removals to 55,000.
While Congress holds hearings on the HALT Act and continues to stall on delivering meaningful immigration reform, we need the Administration to make good on its word to implement policies that keep families together.
Sandra Khalifa is an intern with Campus Progress.
Eduardo Garcia is advocacy manager at Campus Progress. Follow him @itseddie.