Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has charged Obama’s administration with falsifying records of deportation in order to artificially boost the numbers. This has long been a consideration of the Homeland Security Department’s critics. Texas Rep. Smith has said that this has been going on for the last several years as the Obama administration has been mixing Border Patrol apprehensions with the statistics on deportation from United States Customs Enforcement and Immigration. Customs Enforcement is the agency largely responsible for not only deporting aliens, but also for interior enforcement.
Smith conducted an investigation where his findings report that when the numbers are subtracted from Border Patrol, deportation numbers have been declining each year since Obama took office back in 2009. According to Smith the numbers have been reducing from 395,000 in 2009 to 330,000 during 2011. The committee finished by saying that when they subtract Border Patrol numbers from 2012 there will be even few deportations once again.
Mr. Smith justified his findings by saying that it is “dishonest” to include those illegal immigrants seized by Border Patrol trying to cross the border as removals made by ICE. He went on to say that the Border Patrol program removals do not place any restrictions on illegal immigrants for returning to the United States. In other words, one single illegal immigrant can reach the border many times in one year and be counted as a removal each time.
Ice defended its enforcement strategy rather than disputing Rep. Smith’s claim directly. Spokesman Ross Feinstein responded by explaining that the immigration enforcement strategy used by the Obama administration is to enhance public safety, the integrity of the immigration system, and the security of our border. He also added that the prioritization of the administration has increased the number of criminals that have been deported and a decline in the amount of illegal immigrants that have attempted to cross the U.S. border in general.
Spokesman Feinstein continued on to explain that we have saw historic results that reflect the administration’s success of their strategy that is in part attributable to the exceptional amounts of support ICE has provided to Border Patrol for the border to the southwest. He finished by explaining that ICE has created the most efficient effort on immigration enforcement in modern history. ICE and Border Patrol are the two main organizations of the federal government that handle immigration law enforcement.
Mr. Smith and his committee collected documents that reflect 72,000 immigrants being caught under Border Patrol that were sent to ICE under their Alien Transfer Exit Program, and these detainees were included in ICE’s statistics. Officials from the administration stated to the committee that those numbers have been included in the official count since 2011. The present administration has been walking a fine line between immigrant advocacy groups that want deportations stopped altogether and those who want even more deportations to occur. Janet A. Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, has said her department has the resources to deport only 400,000 illegal immigrants per year. She also went on to say she uses the limited number to validate the administration’s policy of how rank-and-file immigrants who do not have major criminal record are not prioritized for deportation. However, Republicans continue to claim the Obama administration turns a blind eye to most illegal immigrants, and therefore enact de facto amnesty.