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  • Article: Interior Enforcement Disintegrates Further in 2015. By Jessica Vaughan

    Interior Enforcement Disintegrates Further in 2015


    WASHINGTON (December 22, 2015) Immigration enforcement remains in a state of collapse, according to the official statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today.

    • Total deportations by ICE (including both border and interior cases) declined 25% from last year, from 315,943 in 2014 to 235,413 in 2015.

    • Interior deportations by ICE declined 31% from last year, from 100,114 in 2014 to 69,478 in 2015.

    • Most concerning, deportations of criminal aliens from the interior declined 27% from last year, from 86,923 in 2014 to 63,127 in 2015.

    The number of interior deportations is now less than one-third of what it was in 2011, before the Obama administration implemented policy changes that greatly restricted the types of cases that ICE officers and agents could pursue for deportation. The number of criminal alien deportations from the interior is less than half of what it was in 2011.

    ICE Director Sarah Saldana said that she was "proud of the numbers" when she testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on December 2, 2015.

    In a press release announcing the numbers today, DHS falsely says "the number of convicted criminals removed from the interior continued to increase." In fact, only the share of deportations that are of criminals has increased the actual number has fallen, as noted above.

    CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan testified at the same Senate hearing as Saldana, and said this about the new statistics: "These abysmal deportation numbers are the result of deliberate policy choices made by President Obama to dismantle immigration enforcement, all the while telling Congress and the public that he was accomplishing "record" deportations. This willful neglect has imposed enormous costs on American communities. In addition to the distorted labor markets and higher tax bills for social welfare benefits that result from uncontrolled illegal immigration, the Obama administration's anti-enforcement policies represent a threat to public safety from criminal aliens that ICE officers are told to release instead of detain and remove. The administration's mandate that ICE focus only on the 'worst of the worst' convicted criminal aliens means that too many of 'the worst' deportable criminal aliens are still at large in our communities."

    Vaughan also said, "We are likely to see a further drop in deportations in the coming year, following the implementation of the administration's Priority Enforcement Program. Known as PEP, this program further limits ICE officers, requiring them to ignore prior deportees and other deportable aliens who were formerly priorities, and explicitly allows state and local governments to obstruct enforcement with sanctuary policies."

    Figure 1

    Figure 2

    Note: These figures include both removals and returns

    Figure 3

    Note: These figures include both removals and returns

    Reprinted with permission.

    About The Author

    Jessica M. Vaughan serves as Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, DC-based research institute that examines the impact of immigration on American society and educates policymakers and opinion leaders on immigration issues. She has been with the Center since 1992, and her area of expertise is immigration policy and operations, covering topics such as visa programs, immigration benefits and immigration law enforcement. Ms. Vaughan recently completed several major projects on immigration and crime, including a Department of Justice-funded project studying the use of immigration law enforcement in transnational gang suppression efforts. In addition, she is an instructor for senior law enforcement officer training seminars at Northwestern University? Center for Public Safety in Illinois.

    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Rpichardo's Avatar
      Rpichardo -
      What a biased piece by someone who clearly believes that ICE should be enforcing immigration law only by effectuating massive and pointless deportations. Anyone with any common sense would agree that ICE should hardly be in the business of deportation, but instead serve in a more probation officer type of role that can actually monitor illegal immigrants. Ms. Vaughn alleges the serious cost of not deporting people but says nothing about the obvious benefits, not to mention the not so obvious. The obvious include increased employment for detention facilities, greater economic activity (both formal and informal), more tax payers, KEEPING FAMILIES together (hmm... I wonder what she would say about human rights... you know those values and norms that the US is a primary author of). The not so obvious includes the lower cost of not enforcing broken laws, increased immigrant integration as a result of feeling more secure in their communities.

      As to the costs she mentions, none of them with the exception of distortion in some labor markets - and not all nor most- are factually incorrect.
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      I totally agree with Rpichardo's comment. A more correct title to Ms. Vaughn's piece would be: "Credibility of Center For Immigration Studies Disintegrates Further in 2015". No doubt, we can look for even new lows from this biased anti-immigrant mouthpiece in 2016, an election year for which the immigration debate has already been hijacked by Donald Trump.

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
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