Before Republicans start caving to Democrats’ demand for “comprehensive immigration reform” this election year, skeptics say lawmakers should find out how billions in tax dollars are falling through the sieve of so-called enforcement programs.
Contrary to President Obama’s claims of record deportations, John Sandweg, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, admits ICE deported only 134,000 illegal immigrants from the country’s interior in 2012.
That figure — down 40 percent since 2009, when Obama took office — represents just 0.2 percent of the estimated 11.7 million illegals in the United States.
The administration and its political allies assert that Washington is spending more on immigration enforcement than on the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service and all other federal criminal law-enforcement agencies combined.
“Nearly $187 billion (was) spent on federal immigration enforcement over the past 26 years,” according to the Migration Policy Institute, a pro-immigration group.
But MPI buries the real news. Under Obama, ICE’s budget dropped from $5.98 billion in 2012 to a requested $5.34 billion for 2014. Citing financial constraints, ICE freed more than 2,000 detainees last February.
Deportations from the interior have declined under Obama’s “prosecutorial discretion” policies that exempt at least 90 percent of the illegal-alien population.
Overall, deportations by all federal agencies, as defined by the administration, fell from 409,849 in fiscal year 2012 to 368,644 in fiscal 2013.
“ICE arrests have been trending downward since 2008,” says Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies.
“ICE agents now are releasing more illegal aliens than they are deporting, even though they have more resources and technology at their disposal.”
The Clinton administration holds the record for deportations, at 12.3 million over eight years. George W. Bush’s administration shipped back 10.3 million illegals during his tenure.