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

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail