MPI Provides Analysis on How Deportations Could Be Reduced

On October 16, the Migration Policy Institute released a new report entitled “Deportation and Discretion: Reviewing the Record and Options for Change.” The report is full of data on deportations of illegal aliens over a ten-year period (2003-2013). It looks at how the pattern of deportations has changed during the Obama administration compared to the pattern during the preceding Bush administration.

The report is not just benign statistical analysis, however. It goes on to analyze how deportations might be further reduced. That is apparently aimed at the Obama administration’s stated interest in policy changes that could be made by executive action to liberalize immigration enforcement. The report identifies the following steps that could reduce the number of deportations:

  • Exclude immigration crimes, e.g., failure to report for deportation. This could eliminate 7 percent of current deportations.
  • Exclude traffic offenses other than DUI. This would be another 7 percent reduction.
  • Exclude convictions for minor crimes (level 3). An 11 percent reduction.
  • Exclude convictions for all non-violent crimes. A 15 percent reduction.
  • Exclude failure to report for deportation. A 7 percent reduction.
  • Exclude failure to report for deportation if more than 5 years earlier. An 8 percent reduction.
  • Limit the period of illegal presence in the U.S. constituting recent arrival. If reduced from the current 4 years to 3 years – a 7 percent reduction. If reduced to 1 or 2 years, an 8 percent reduction. If reduced to 14 days, a 9 percent reduction.

Why anyone would want to reduce the deportation of illegal aliens is difficult for me to fathom, but that apparently is a central objective of the Obama administration’s review of possible erosion of immigration enforcement policies currently being pursued.

The report’s principal author, Marc Rosenblum had the temerity to state during the report’s unveiling that there is not much difference statistically between the composition of deportations during the Obama administration compared to that during the Bush administrations, and that you could, therefore, say that the Bush administration adhered to the same prioritization for deportations as adopted by the Obama administration. The implausibility of that statement is obvious when it is recalled that the prioritization system adopted by the Obama administration was adopted in order to stop the deportation efforts against all but the highest priority cases. In 2007 and 2008, the Bush administration engaged in a number of enforcement activities such as worksite raids and prosecutions of employers for knowingly employing illegal aliens that have been virtually abandoned by the Obama administration. The result has been that illegal aliens are virtually assured that they can continue to work illegally in the United States as long as they do not engage in violent criminal activity.

To its credit, the MPI analysis does document the end to increased interior enforcement after 2009 and a major reduction in interior immigration enforcement beginning after 2011. That trend is a direct result of the administration’s prioritized restrictions on enforcement.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    Its happenning All Over Government Lately

    They ignore their own written policies if it interfers with their open border plans, ask the CDC. I imagine the border patrol guard that actively pursues written policy engaging IAs is given a bad performance appraissal for doing the right thing.

  2. avatar

    Yep, and alot of those illegals are migrating around the country, thanks to their fake California drivers license. They move to another state and voila they now have a real drivers license. Sick of this country just letting them in by the trainloads. These people are sick, have no education, can’t figure out how a bathroom works. I hope we never issue them a license, if they can’t figure out how a bathroom works, can you see them figuring out how a vehicle works? I CAN’T. Need to find them and shove them back across the border.

  3. avatar

    California is in a state of perpetual “drought” which makes the global warming, global cooling, climate change, climate chaos people scream bloody murder. The most obvious thing is that California has been invaded by people from south of the border to the point that it has made California a Mexican state. All those 38 MILLION people need water. Not to mention the lush farmland that feeds the world needs water. So it’s not a “drought” it’s a permanent water shortage. Brought to you by unlimited immigration from Mexico, drawn by welfare programs that pay people to have yet more children.

    I have no idea why foreigners of every stripe are more important than hard working Americans, but it seems that sick indolent, uneducated, sometimes hostile people are too important to send back.

    • avatar

      Drought is a technical term because it means much less than normal rainfall. Which has been the case in California. But your point is correct. The amount of water available was limited to begin with, and less is available now. More population growth due to massive immigration has only increased the problem.

  4. avatar

    We reward illegal immigration, not punish it. And some wonder why people ignore our immigration laws? But the same advocates who claim our system is “broken” and needs “reform” have the same goal they have always had. Weaken immigration law, not strengthen it.

    I was recently reading a Reuters story on erosion damage along the Eastern seaboard, mostly due to rising seas. But it also said this:

    “In many places, including much of the US Eastern Seaboard, an additional factor makes the problem worse: the land is sinking. This process, known as subsidence, is due in part to inexorable geological shifts. But another major cause is the extraction of water from underground reservoirs for industrial and public water supplies.”

    That is similar to what is being said about the tremendous amount of water that is being withdrawn from groundwater supplies in California. The real problem, according to scientists, is that the clay and soils collapse on each other and will support less water storage when, and if, rains return.

    But the entire political establishment of California says everybody come on in, legal illegal, doesn’t matter. You know the old saying, with friends like that who needs enemies.