Washington Post is Still Spinning Deportation Numbers for Obama



The Washington Post reports that 1.18 million people were deported during the first three years of the Obama administration while the Trump administration removed fewer than 800,000 during the same period.

“It is unclear why deportations have been happening relatively slowly,” the Post puzzled.

Let’s help clarify that for you.

First, the selected deportation numbers are a confused mix of apples and oranges.

The Post and other media outlets that declare Obama the “Deporter-in-Chief” persist in purveying bogus statistics that conflate actual removals (by the immigration court or by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) with Customs and Border Protection turnarounds at or near the border.

Doing what no previous administration had done, Obama combined deportations and turnarounds to make it appear there were a record number of removals. In fact, actual deportation numbers were around 200,000 to 300,000, consistent with most administrations.

When it took office, the Trump administration restored the standard practice of listing removals and turnarounds as separate categories.

Second, because unprecedented percentages of illegal border crossers are abusing the asylum system or using minors as get-out-of-jail-free cards, the Trump administration cannot engage in Team Obama’s deceptive accounting practices, even if it wanted to.

Table - FY2018 ERO Administrative Arrests

Immigration hearings — and, thus, deportations — are taking longer as bogus asylum claims clog a court system chronically short of judges (thanks, Congress). Rejected aliens invariably take their cases to the Board of Immigration Appeals. If they lose there, they appeal to the federal Article III courts, or file collateral attacks. It’s no coincidence that immigration cases are the fastest growing segment of federal litigation.

Many migrants making claims for asylum, or other humanitarian relief don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning their cases – but they still get a hearing.

All told, ICE removals (deportations) under Trump are comparable to those in the Obama era. And preliminary data for Fiscal 2019 indicate that removals could be up more than 10 percent this year. That would be no mean feat, considering the activist courts and sanctuary cities that thwart immigration enforcement, and lawmakers who do nothing to close existing loopholes.

As for the Post’s report? Count it as yet another case of the mainstream media obfuscating the truth to perpetuate their own political agenda.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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