Arresting, detaining and deporting illegal immigrants is outrageous, many leading Democrats maintain. Some have called for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to be eliminated, in effect opening our borders to all comers.
But where was the compassion for illegal immigrants during former President Barack Obama’s administration — when deportations were far higher than under President Donald Trump?
During the first full fiscal year of Trump’s administration, 2018, federal authorities “repatriated” 256,085 illegal immigrants. Of that total, 57 percemt were convicted criminals. During the first half of fiscal 2019, the current year, 129,517 deportations have occurred.
It will require more than the current round of immigration raids, targeting just 2,000 people who have failed to answer court summons, for the Trump administration to even match Obama’s numbers.
From fiscal 2009-2011, an average of 385,000 illegal immigrants a year were deported. Obama’s peak was in fiscal 2012, when 409,849 “repatriations” occurred.
Initial admissions to ICE detention facilities also are down from the Obama era.
During fiscal 2018, the last year for which complete statistics are available, ICE reported 396,448 initial admissions to detention centers.
That number was eclipsed during the four years from fiscal 2011-2014, however. During that period, an average of nearly 438,000 illegal immigrants a year were taken into ICE detention.
Indeed, the current crush of foreign citizens coming into the United States illegally threatens to overwhelm ICE — or, at least, funding for the agency approved by Congress. But insisting Trump has cracked down harder than Obama is — dare we say it? — fake news.