Have Obama’s Deportation Promises Been Broken?
An analysis by The New York Times of government records is taking up opposition against the President’s claim that increased deportations are targeting “criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families.” According to The New York Times, records show that two-thirds of the almost two million deportations were of individuals who had either been caught on minor infractions such as traffic violations, or were individuals without any criminal record. A mere twenty percent of the cases, or 304,000 of the two million, had serious criminal records such as drug-related offenses.
It’s not merely a continuing trend from previous years. Rather, studies of the records from over the last ten years show that cases of immigrants deported on minor offenses, if that, have increased four fold, up from 43,000 during the end of President George W. Bush’s time in office, to 193,000 during Obama’s administration. What’s more, The New York Times reports that the opportunity for appeal has been decreasing for those immigrants facing deportation, with the Obama administration cutting back on removal proceedings so as to more efficiently remove illegal immigrants — meaning that some are not given the opportunity for a hearing. “I am afraid of being deported,” said Anabel Barron to The New York Times, an immigrant in the U.S. illegal for almost twenty years. “But for my children it’s worse … They don’t want to go to school because they are afraid I am not going to be there when they get home.”
As immigration continues to be stalled in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike are losing patience. “After almost a year with no serious movement forward on immigration reform in the House, I am beginning to wonder whether the Republicans will get serious about immigration before they run out of time,” said Representative Luis V. Guitierrez (D-Ill.) to the House last week, reminding them that the July 4th recess is not far off, and that they need to get an “immigration reform bill seriously rollin down the tracks by the time we break for Independence Day.”
“If you don’t act in the next 34 days — if you refuse to give the President a bill he can sign because you don’t trust him to enforce immigration laws, even though he has spent more money and deported more people than any President before him, he will act without you,” said Guitierrez.
For others, such as David Martin, former deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, the deportations aren’t enough. “It would have been better for the administration to state its enforcement intentions clearly and stand by them, rather than being willing to lean whichever way seemed politically expedient at any given moment,” he said. “They lost credibility on enforcement, despite all the deportations, while letting activists think they could always get another concession if they just blamed Obama. It was a pipe dream to think they could make everyone happy.”
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