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Just How Strong Immigration Enforcement Is Now

As the Senate Judiciary Committee continues to work on the enforcement title of the "Gang of Eight’s" immigration reform legislation, questions regarding the statistics behind deportations, immigration cases and court orders, government spending and the numbers behind undocumented criminal activity take on a new significance.

With the contention between opposing interests in the immigration debate, a gap in statistics seems to have exacerbated the clash over whether or not immigration law enforcement is too tough or not tough enough.

That's why staff at the Bipartisan Policy Center put together a document that examines the current state of interior immigration enforcement by the numbers. The document looks at the records kept by the Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) based on a long series of Freedom of Information Act requests. Here are some highlights from these records:

Deportations:


Figure 1. Number of deportations, Fiscal Year 1980—2011. Source: Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2011.

The Obama administration's deportation of undocumented immigrants ranks among the highest in recorded numbers. This figure measures only the individuals who went through an administrative or judicial removal process.


Percent of deportation cases ending in allowance to stay in the U.S., Fiscal Year 1998—2013. Source: TRAC.

Among deportation cases that reach immigration court, the portion ending in an allowance to stay in the U.S. has risen sharply.

According to the Bipartisan Policy Center: "This rapid increase may be due in part to President Obama’s deferred action program, which allows DREAMers to avoid deportation."


Deportation orders sought in immigration court based on alleged criminal activity, January 2008—March 2012. Source: TRAC.

Criminal prosecutions from Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been reduced in recent years.

Statistics like these prove that enforcement of immigration laws is actually the toughest its ever been, perhaps to the chagrin of those who claim we need stricter enforcement policies.

Candice Bernd is a reporter with Campus Progress. Follow her on Twitter @CandiceBernd.

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