Over the past eight years, President Obama and his supporters tried to convince the American people that he took a strong stance when it came to enforcing immigration law. Some open borders proponents even went as far as labeling him the “Deporter in Chief.” But last week, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released removal statistics for the president’s final year in office. A complete eight-year picture is now available of what the outgoing administration really did when it came to removing those who violate our immigration laws. In short, it is the polar opposite of the picture painted by his administration.
Since taking office in 2009, the truth is that the Obama administration progressively dismantled immigration law enforcement while simultaneously making entitlements more easily available to illegal aliens. These actions, coupled with an improving economy, would appear to be incentives for more people to attempt immigrating into the U.S. illegally. Indeed, the progressively increasing number of illegal aliens turned back while trying to cross the border throughout most of the Obama administration adds evidence to this claim. To hide the ever decreasing interior removal numbers from a public that supports immigration enforcement, the administration started including these border returns in its overall deportation numbers.
This dishonest maneuver was necessary because interior removals looked miniscule compared to the already underwhelming deportation statistics under previous administrations. In FY 2009, approximately 240,000 interior removals were conducted by ICE. That number has steadily decreased by an average of 25,000 per year. In 2016, only 65,000 immigration violators were removed from the interior of the United States. (click for larger version of graphic)
In addition to drastically scaling back removals, the Obama administration opened up the floodgates in other areas of immigration as well. During his administration, approximately 605,000 refugees, many from terrorist hotbeds, have been admitted despite undergoing minimal vetting. Furthermore, the president enacted the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which required that only immigration violators who had committed other crimes, of a more severe nature, could be placed in removal proceedings. This resulted in the release of some 90,000 criminal aliens back into society. By creating programs like these, combined with a non-enforcement policy, the administration succeeded in making the United States a de-facto open border nation.
Donald Trump made immigration reform a central issue of his successful presidential campaign. Based on how badly President Obama failed at immigration enforcement, President-elect Trump seemingly has nowhere to go but up. However, the American people sent a clear message to Washington, D.C. by electing someone who promised to enforce immigration law. President-elect Trump and the GOP-led Congress can expect to be held accountable and suffer the consequences should they fail to deliver on their promise to repair the currently ineffective and broken system.