Deportations Under Obama Fall to 2006 Levels

The Associated Press has learned the government is on pace to deport the fewest illegal immigrants since 2006 according to government documents.

As of April 20, federal immigration officials sent home 127,378 people in the United States illegally. That puts immigrant removals on track to be among the lowest since the middle of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The internal statistics reveal a continuing decline in deportations even as the Obama administration fights a legal challenge to a plan it announced late last year to shield millions of immigrants from deportations.

The new figures, contained in weekly internal reports not publicly reported, average about 19,730 removals a month for the first six months of the government’s fiscal year that began in October.

If that trend continues, the government will remove about 236,000 by September — the lowest figure since 2006, when 207,776 were sent home.

Removals have been declining for nearly three years after Immigration and Customs Enforcement recorded a record 409,849 removals in 2012.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson argues that the composition of illegal aliens has changed with more illegals coming from non-contiguous countries who are claiming asylum and persecution in their homelands. These claims are harder to adjudicate and result in fewer overall deportations.

Since Obama first took office in 2009, the number of immigrants arrested and deported from the interior of the country has steadily declined. That year, nearly two thirds of the 389,834 immigrants removed were found in the interior of the country. By 2014, roughly a third of the 315,943 people removed were living in the country, according to internal ICE figures.

Johnson faced questioning from the U.S. Senate yesterday.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Johnson’s explanation of moving resources to the border “a red herring.”

“It’s clear to me that the department no longer seems to have a will to enforce immigration laws,” Grassley said.