Fewer Illegal Immigrants Are Being Deported Due To Obama’s Policy Shift

Years of promises for immigration reform that would benefit both Americans and South Americans seeking refuge on America’s western border have finally been fulfilled. Under the Obama administration in the final year of his second and last term, fewer immigrants were deported in 2014. What appears most alarming is that the numbers of people who were deported are fewer than deportation numbers in the last decade, according to the Associated Press‘ recent figures.

The number first began to decline when President Obama first began his presidency in 2009. Reportedly, the decrease in deported immigrants is all a part of a strategy initiated by the Obama Administration to focus on finding and deporting immigrants who are in the country illegally and are contributing to the crime rates in the United States. Because of this effort, only 231,000 immigrants have been deported since 2013. Of the total deported immigrants, 136,700 of them were criminals. Last year, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced a new direction on deportation of criminal aliens to Congress.

“With the resources we have, I’m interested in focusing on criminals and recent illegal arrivals at the border.”

The cause of this policy shift is reportedly to cut the massive costs associated with deportation. The new plan is the either catch the migrants at the border before they cross illegally or to recognize them as citizens and aid them in becoming legal once they’ve been in the country for a number of years, according to Jeh Johnson.

“We are making it clear that we should not expend our limited resources on deporting those who have been here for years, have committed no serious crimes and have, in effect, become integrated members of our society… These people are here, they live among us, and they are not going away.”

The number of illegal deported immigrants released by the Department of Homeland Security does not include any Mexican migrants that were captured at the border while attempting to enter the United States illegally. With Mexico being so close to the western U.S. border, Mexico is thought to be where most illegal immigrants come from. However, based on figures from 2014, most illegal immigrants are from Latin American countries other than Mexico.

It was reported that more than 257,000 immigrants who entered the U.S. in 2014 were from countries other than Mexico. Of the migrants arrested by U.S. Border Patrol in that year, 131,000 of them were not Mexicans. More specifically, U.S. Border Patrol captured and deported 34,500 unaccompanied children, and 34,400 people traveling with families, who were from South American countries other than Mexico. These numbers made 2014 the first year in which the number of Mexican immigrants were outnumbered by the number of immigrants from other nations. The new most common migrant countries include El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Though immigration reform does call for resolution of deportation laws for illegal immigrants, it also calls for mediation. With this knowledge in mind, many of the current 2016 presidential candidates have included immigration reform in their platforms, but are focusing on the other reality of immigration — the massive amount of illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. The question is, how much of a bad thing is it?

Recently, Pew Research released a report which proves that today’s immigrants are less likely to be criminals and more likely to be highly educated contributors to America’s economic growth. Based on the data, 41 percent of immigrants who entered America in 2015, so far, have Bachelor’s degrees. The report compares immigrants in 2015 to those from as far back as 1970, at which time only 20 percent of immigrants had a college-level education. Additionally, America’s modern immigrants are more likely to have completed primary and secondary education.

It is estimated that 11 million illegal immigrants are living in the United States presently. In his time in office, President Obama has captained 2.4 million deportations of these illegal immigrants, which shows that overall, deportations have decreased by 84,000 individuals annually. The overall decrease in deportations since Obama became president in 2009 is 42 percent.

[Image via Getty Images / Bloomberg]