FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Deportations Under Obama

by

During the administration of President Barack Obama, there have been over two million deportations. On April 5, 2014, activists are organizing marches around the country in protest.

Meanwhile, detractors are claiming that activists are getting ahead of themselves and that President Barack Obama has only achieved two million deportations because of a change in how removals are counted.

A close look at the numbers, however, shows that President Obama’s immigration law enforcement program is one of the most aggressive in the history of the United States.

To understand the controversy, you have to get familiar with a bit of bureaucratic lingo. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses the term “removal” to describe deportations and its enforcement arms carry out two types of removals: border and interior.

The kind of removal that is most upsetting to immigration activists is when a person who lives in the United States is apprehended and forced to leave the country – which DHS refers to as an interior removal. Only a fraction of the two million removals during the Obama administration have been interior removals. My calculations indicate that less than half of the removals have been interior removals.

However, I have no way of calculating how many of the removals under previous administrations were interior removals. And, neither does anyone else who claims that Obama’s removal numbers are misleading.

The Office of Immigration Statistics has only released data that breaks down border and interior removals back to FY 2008 – the last full year of George W. Bush’s presidency.

tanya1

Source: ICE Removal Statistics

In FY 2008, 134,451 of the people removed by ICE were removed at the border. By 2013, this figure had shot up to 235,093. This change causes people to say that Obama is inflating his deportation numbers.

However, I also have data back to FY 2008 that shows that this increase in ICE border removals was accompanied by an increase in overall ICE removals.

Total ICE removals FY 2009-2013, interior and border

tanya2

Source: Office of Immigration Statistics and ICE Removal Statistics

It is true that there has been a shift during the Obama administration to more border removals, and fewer interior removals as a percentage of all ICE removals. However, interior removals have remained fairly steady – fluctuating from a high of 156,495 in FY 2009 to a low of 113,883 in FY 2012.

tanya3

Moreover, it is far from clear whether or not Obama is removing fewer people from the interior of the United States than previous administrations. The data above is nearly all from the Obama administration and I do not have data this detailed from previous administrations. (Obama took office in January 2009.)

Although we cannot be sure about interior removals prior to FY 2009, which began on October 1, 2008, we do know that Secure Communities began in Harris County, Texas on October 27, 2008.  By November 30, 2013, a total of 319,982 people had been removed through the Secure Communities Program. By November 2013, an average of about 6,000 people per month were being removed through this program – most of whom were living in the United States. It is thus unlikely, although not inconceivable, that interior removals have in fact been higher during a previous administration.

We also know this: in 1997, removals reached a historic high of 114,432. That number is only a few hundred removals higher than the lowest number of interior removals during the Obama administration. Thus, we can be certain that, in each year of his administration, there have been more interior removals under Obama than there were prior to 1997.

The question, then, that remains is: were there ever more than 113,833 interior removals in a single fiscal year prior to President Obama taking office. Or, has any previous president had a consistent annual average of over 100,000 interior removals each year? In light of the fact that Secure Communities was not started until FY 2009, I doubt that the answers will be yes. But, without the data, I admit my answer is not definitive.

The evidence-based conclusion that I have reached is that it is highly likely there have been more interior removals under Obama than any previous president. Without the data prior to FY 2009, however, neither I nor anyone else can arrive at a definitive conclusion.

Tanya Golash-Boza is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. She is the author of: Race and Racisms: A Critical ApproachYo Soy Negro Blackness in PeruImmigration Nation: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post-9/11 Americaand Due Process Denied: Detentions and Deportations in the United States. She blogs at: http://stopdeportationsnow.blogspot.com

Tweets:  (twitter handle: @tanyaboza )

 

Tanya Golash-Boza is the author of: Yo Soy Negro Blackness in PeruImmigration Nation: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post-9/11 Americaand Due Process Denied: Detentions and Deportations in the United States. Her new book Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism will be published by NYU Press in 2015.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 23, 2017
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
David Welsh
Bay Area Rallies Against Trump’s Muslim Ban II
March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
Paul J. Ramsey
What Trump’s Travel Ban Reveals About His Long-Term Educational Policy
Norman Pollack
Two Nations: Skid Rows vs. Mar-a-Lago
Michael Brenner
The Great Game: Power Politics or Free Play?
Sam Gordon
Falling Rate of Profit, What about Some Alienation?
Jack Random
Sidetracked: Trump Diaries, Week 8
Julian Vigo
The Limits of Citizenship
James Graham
French Elections: a Guide for the Perplexed
Jeff Mackler
The Extraordinary Lynne Stewart
Lee Ballinger
Chuck Berry: “Up in the Morning and Off to School!”
Binoy Kampmark
Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession
Nyla Ali Khan
Cultural Syncretism in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail