Fewer than 0.2 percent of the 11.7 million illegal aliens in the United States were deported in 2012 for violating immigration laws, according to data released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“It is a drop in the bucket,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Caller. “Relative to the [agency] resources and tools they have been given to do this job, it is a record low,” said Vaughan.
Government officials say they deported a total of 368,644 people. But almost two-thirds of those people, or 235,093, were caught at the border and promptly returned to their home countries.
Only 133,551 resident illegals were picked up in the interior of the country and deported, the ICE report admitted.
But 82 percent of those residents were deported for other offenses, ICE acknowledged. Those offenses include drunk driving, assault, robbery and drug possession.
The remaining 18 percent adds up to only 20,000 illegals of the 11.7 million illegals believed to be living in the United States.
That’s only one immigration-law deportation for every 585 illegals.
The agency said officials want to focus federal police on illegals who also commit additional crimes. “Other than convicted criminals, the agency’s enforcement priorities include: those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants – individuals who returned to the U.S. after being previously removed by ICE – and immigration fugitives,” said the ICE report.
“Immigration laws should be enforced for their own sake, not just as a way to remove criminals,” Vaughan said.
“The main purpose of the immigration of the law is to preserve economic opportunity for Americans and the legal immigrants we choose to accept,” Vaughan said.
Roughly 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, while wages have been flat for at least five years because so many unemployed people are looking for jobs.
Under current immigration law, the federal government annually provides work permits to 1 million immigrants and roughly 650,000 short-term or medium-term non-agricultural guest-workers. The resident population of guest-workers includes roughly 800,000 university-trained workers now performing jobs sought by U.S. professionals.
Since 2009, Obama’s deputies have blocked or deported 3.2 million border crossers and immigrants, according to a study of federal data by Vaughan.