The latest immigration enforcement data affirm something that would appear incongruous: Former President Barack Obama deported illegal aliens at a far higher rate than his successor.
Roughly 1.8 million foreign nationals were deported from the U.S. for the first three years of the Obama administration. The Trump administration, on the other hand, has deported fewer than 800,000 so far, according to a report from the Washington Post. In 2012 alone, Obama oversaw the removal of nearly 410,000 people. Trump has yet to deport more than 260,000 in a single year.
While the numbers seem like an anomaly given the Trump administration’s laser focus on immigration control, they largely reflect the demographics of the current border crisis.
During the Obama administration, a much higher proportion of those apprehended at the U.S. southern border were Mexican nationals — who are much easier to remove from the country than foreign nationals from non-contiguous countries. The current immigration crisis has been largely made up of family units from Central America. Children and family units from countries other than Canada or Mexico are much more difficult to process and remove because of U.S. immigration laws.
The immigration crisis has also forced the Trump administration to divert Department of Homeland Security resources to the U.S.-Mexico border, leaving the interior of the country with less manpower.
The result has been fewer deportations. However, detainment of foreign nationals has reached record levels. Roughly 50,000 individuals were jailed on any given day last year by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the highest detainment number in the government’s history. Individuals are also being held for a longer duration of time than before.
Immigration activists, who once referred to Obama as the “deporter-in-chief,” have not forgotten the 44th’s deportation record.
Protesters stormed Joe Biden’s Philadelphia campaign headquarters in July, demanding the former vice president-turned-presidential candidate apologize for the high rate of deportations under his administration. Just days later, protesters interrupted Biden during a Democratic presidential debate, shouting “three million deportations!” — the total number of removals during the Obama era. (RELATED: Nearly 80,000 Illegal Aliens Carried An Arrest Record Before Winning DACA Approval, Government Data Show)
Biden said during a presidential debate in September it was “outrages” to compare Obama’s immigration record to Trump. He then incorrectly claimed that his administration didn’t “lock people up in cages” or “separate families.” However, both of these things did happen during the Obama administration.
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