The decline in enforcement was hidden by the department refusal to share data, and by a new practice where the Border Patrol busses illegal immigrants who are caught at the border into detection centers run by ICE.
But ICE is responsible for arresting illegal immigrants after they reach the interior of the country.
When the border-crossers are later deported by ICE, administration officials use the manipulated statistics to claim that fewer people are trying to cross the border, and that more people are being deported from the interior.
“I have absolutely no doubt this is intentional,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
The data should “be public, it should be on the website,” said Vaughan. But it is kept hidden, she said, because “they’re afraid that people will come to their own conclusions.”
In 2000, 1.86 million aliens were deported under policies set by President Bill Clinton. Deportations dropped sharply under President George W. Bush.