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Deportations drop to new low for Obama

Fewer immigrants were deported in the last year than at any other time in President Obama’s tenure, according to a Friday report.

Deportations of individuals caught crossing the border were down 9 percent, according to preliminary numbers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) obtained by The Los Angeles Times.

The government also removed fewer immigrants who were already living in the U.S. Those deportations — which often take place when an individual comes into contact with the criminal justice system — dropped 23 percent for the year ending September 30.

Border crossings were up 15 percent during that period, according to ICE. The rise was likely driven by an unprecedented surge of Central American migrants, rather than immigration from Mexico.

Mexico was the largest source country of immigrants deported during the year, followed by Central American nations including Guatemala and Honduras. It can be much easier to deport an individual to Mexico than to Central America.

The stark drop was precipitated by the child migrant crisis, as ICE personnel had to supervise those children, rather than work on other deportation cases.

But the decline was also fueled in part by the Obama administration’s decision to focus deportation efforts on criminal offenders and border crossers. Of immigrants deported during the year from inside the country, 85 percent had a criminal conviction.

The numbers are likely to be cited by Republicans as they seek to paint Obama as soft on enforcement in the debate over the president’s executive action on immigration.

The president’s order will provide legal status to some immigrants in the country illegally and make other changes to the immigration system. It also orders ICE to focus its deportation efforts on those with criminal records, connections and histories.

Republicans in congress are looking to block the order — and could pass a short-term funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security in a attempt to gain leverage over Obama.

But the numbers may also help Obama with Latinos and other immigration reform supporters, who feel that he has deported too many people since coming into office.

Source:The Hill

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