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Report: NDN Shows Decline In Total Number Of Deportations During Obama Administration

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Report: NDN Shows Decline In Total Number Of Deportations During Obama Administration


In 2012, a conservative group known as American Principles in Action ran an ad that called President Obama the “deporter-in-chief,” claiming that “Obama has deported more people than any other president in this country’s history.” The charge has been often repeated throughout the president’s time in office (just this Monday, Fox News Latino published a report proclaiming that deportations have quadrupled during Obama’s presidency).

According to a new report from New Democrat Network, however, that does not tell the complete story.

The study from NDN, a center-left think tank, separates deportations into separate categories: “removals” and “returns.” Removals are defined by the government as “the compulsory and confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States based on an order of removal.” Returns, on the other hand, are considered “the confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States not based on an order of removal.”

Until recently, returns were otherwise known as “voluntary departures,” and result in lesser consequences for individuals who return illegally. Those who are “returned” are often given the opportunity to remain in the country for a short period of time in order to tie up any loose ends or make arrangements for their departure. Removals, conversely, come with an automatic 5- to 10-year ban on re-entry to the United States, and potential incarceration or a lifetime ban should the individual violate the terms of his or her removal.

The NDN report shows that removals under Obama’s administration have indeed increased, from a record low of 165,168 during the Bush administration in 2002 to a record high of 419,384 in 2012. However, the number of returns has plummeted — dropping sharply from 2008 to 2009, when Obama first took office, and declining steadily since.  In 2001, there were 1,349,371 returns, but in 2012 there were only 229,968 — a drop of nearly 83 percent.

When removals and returns are considered together, the total number of deportations has dropped significantly. At the beginning of the Bush administration, there were a total of 1,538,397 deportations; 11 years later, in 2012, there were 649,352 — a decrease of approximately 52 percent.

Though the numbers for fiscal year 2013 have yet to be released, they are projected to follow the declining trend, as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that the number of removals fell from 409,849 to 368,644 (a 10 percent decrease). Simon Rosenberg, the president of NDN, said in response to these figures: “Those who argue that Obama is deporter-in-chief, removing more people than anyone in history, are wrong.”

These new numbers might give President Obama more ammunition in defending himself against reform advocates, who believe that he should do more in stemming the “rising” number of deportations under his administration. Obama has faced increasing pressure from members of his own party to address supposedly record-high levels of deportations.

In fact, the decline of returns might suggest improvements in both immigration policy and border control. For example, an improving Mexican economy and safer border cities are lessening the motivation for undocumented immigrants to cross the border. Increased trade with Mexico, which is now a $550 billion yearly transaction, up from $340 billion in 2009, has made Mexico the third largest trading partner of the U.S., and its second largest export market.

According to Immigration and Border Enforcement, net migration from Mexico has fallen to zero today, from a 2001 high of 770,000 people per year. Moreover, ICE reports that 82 percent of the unauthorized immigrants removed from the U.S. had a criminal conviction, and about two-thirds of all removals were made at the border.

So while some numbers suggest an Obama administration penchant for deportation, a closer examination of the whole picture tells a different story.

Photo: Anunska Sampredo via Flickr




  1. Dominick Vila April 11, 2014

    The GOP strategy on this issue is twofold. They are convinced that dissuading Hispanics-Latinos, born in the USA or living in this country legally, from voting Democrat is critical to their ability to win in November and in 2016. The second part of this issue is that they are desperately trying to divert attention from the fact that the largest influx of illegal immigrants into the USA happened during the Reagan and Bush presidencies, and that the only amnesty granted to illegal immigrants was given by none other than the Gipper. To achieve their political goals which, as usual, have little to do with facts and reality, and a lot to do with misinformation worthy of the Third Reich days, they resort to anything including dividing the number of deportations to create illusions dependent on what the goal of the day happens to be.

    1. FT66 April 11, 2014

      Is there anything positive GOP with their Fox News have said about the current administration? To my knowledge NONE. Am not surprised to hear their lies on deportations of Latinos.

    2. James Bowen April 12, 2014

      Both parties have an abysmal record on immigration enforcement.

  2. Pi_Boson April 11, 2014

    Never mind that CBO reported yesterday that the deficit last month was it’s lowest in 14 years despite the Bush war budgets be deferred until Obama took office.

  3. Canistercook April 11, 2014

    Don’t know if Obama is the Deporter chief but do know he is the Divider chief. We have NEVER before been such a divided country!

    1. Paul Bass April 11, 2014

      Wrong Canistercook, you only believe that (your OPINION!) because you are republican!
      Obama won a greater percentage of the voting population than anyone since LBJ. So NO, it is the republicans who are the “dividers”.

  4. James Bowen April 12, 2014

    We must do whatever it takes to stop amnesty and more immigration.

    1. Independent1 April 15, 2014

      China is only 100,000 square miles larger than America, yet has almost 4 times the number of people. India is 330,000 square miles smaller, yet has 3 times the number of people. And here’s an article that says you may be being overly paranoid about America becoming overly populated:

      This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gesellschaft, or “shrinking society.”

      American media have largely ignored the issue of population decline for the simple reason that it hasn’t happened here yet. Unlike Europe, the United States has long been the beneficiary of robust immigration. This has helped us not only by directly bolstering the number of people calling the United States home but also by propping up the birthrate, since immigrant women tend to produce far more children than the native-born do.

      But both those advantages look to diminish in years to come. A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.

      Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009,Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s droppedfrom six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s.

      Why is this happening? Scientists who study population dynamics point to a phenomenon called “demographic transition.”

      Maybe you out to take a minute and read this article:


      1. James Bowen April 16, 2014

        Any shrinking population is a huge advantage. Europe is overpopulated as it is and would do well to have fewer people. China and India are not places that I would want to live in. In the U.S. and Canada, immigration needs to be reduced to achieve a shrinking population. There are already more people in the world than can be indefinitely sustained. We depend on non-renewable resources to feed the current population. These resources will ultimately be exhausted.

    2. Independent1 April 15, 2014

      You’re so caught up with your paranoid about overpopulation you’re not even thinking about the downside – too few people to sustain economic growth. See this from the same article as my previous post:

      “We simply don’t know for sure what will be the population size at a certain time in the future,” demographer Wolfgang Lutz told IIASA conference-goers earlier this year. “There are huge uncertainties involved.” Still, it’s worth discussing, because focusing too single-mindedly on the problem of overpopulation could have disastrous consequences—see China’s one-child policy.

      One of the most contentious issues is the question of whether birthrates in developed countries will remain low. The United Nation’s most recent forecast, released in 2010, assumes that low-fertility countries will eventually revert to a birthrate of around 2.0. In that scenario, the world population tops out at about 10 billion and stays there. But there’s no reason to believe that that birthrates will behave in that way—no one has every observed an inherent human tendency to have a nice, arithmetically stable 2.1 children per couple. On the contrary, people either tend to have an enormous number of kids (as they did throughout most of human history and still do in the most impoverished, war-torn parts of Africa) or far too few. We know how to dampen excessive population growth—just educate girls. The other problem has proved much more intractable: No one’s figured out how to boost fertility in countries where it has imploded. Singapore has been encouraging parenthood for nearly 30 years, with cash incentives of up to $18,000 per child. Its birthrate? Agasping-for-air 1.2. When Sweden started offering parents generous support, the birthrate soared but then fell back again, and after years of fluctuating, it now stands at 1.9—very high for Europe but still below replacement level.

      1. James Bowen April 16, 2014

        Growth is not necessary for prosperity. In fact, it has gotten to the point where it is detrimental to it. Population growth is a Ponzi scheme, it benefits those at the top but in general makes things worse for most people. It cannot go on forever either. Our institutions must adapt to a steady state economy if we want to preserve any sort of decent quality of life.

        China’s one-child policy has been a success. It has slowed enormously China’s once-rampant population growth and has put China on track to stabilization.

        There are far too many people in the world to indefinitely sustain our numbers using only renewable resources. We currently depend on exhaustible resources like fossil fuels to grow the food we need. If we are to avoid a correction, we need to have several centuries of sub-replacement fertility and negative population growth in order to bring our numbers down to sustainable levels.

        1. Independent1 April 16, 2014

          All I’m going to say is HOGWASH!!!

          1. James Bowen April 16, 2014

            If you think this is hogwash, tell me how we are going to indefinitely sustain our current numbers, let alone more. We are only able to feed our current population due to Green Revolution advances that rely on exhaustible resources such as fossil fuels to make the fertilizers, pesticides, etc. that we achieve our grain yields with. Even the U.S., the food bank to the world, could only sustain about 150 million using completely renewable methods. For more information on this, I recommend you Google Dr. Albert Bartlett. He was a nuclear physicist at the University of Colorado who, as a hobby, lectured extensively on the physical impossibility of unlimited growth.

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