Obama Prosecuted Nearly Half A Million Illegals

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

The Obama administration prosecuted approximately half a million adults for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between Fiscal year 2010 and Fiscal year 2016, Department of Homeland Security data provided to the Daily Caller reveals.

Department of Homeland Security

The prosecutions include both illegal immigrant violators of Title 8 of the U.S. Code 1325 and 1326 used to penalize first time and multiple offenders respectively. The DHS data further shows that the Obama administration referred on average 1 out of 5 adults apprehended at the border for criminal prosecution.

Criminal prosecution of illegal immigrants has become a hot button issue in the U.S. with the Trump administration deciding it will prosecute 100% of the people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Current U.S. law dictates that criminal prosecution of adults will result in the separation of family units if they illegally cross together.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s public numbers however show that nearly 200,000 children were referred by the DHS between fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2016. These children either were separated by their families or they were unaccompanied minors.

DHS told TheDC it does not keep specific data from this period on the number of children separated from their families as a result of the Obama administration’s policy, but the data bolsters a claim made by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Monday. Nielsen insisted to reporters at the White House that both the Obama and Bush administrations separated families at the border.

The Trump administration has defended the policy, noting that the only other option they have is to schedule an immigration court date and release the entire family unit into the interior. The practice, known as “catch and release,” has resulted in the release of nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants from Central America into the U.S. interior. U.S. authorities do not actively track illegals once they have been released.

Family separation in particular has been heavily scrutinized by the U.S. press in recent days with particular focus on the detention conditions of children. Trump himself however is defiant towards the criticism demanding that Democratic lawmakers work with him to pass a legislative package that contains his administration’s broader immigration priorities in exchange for an end to the practice.

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