The New York Times and other media outlets are breathelessly reporting a "record" of more than 390,0000 deportations of illegal immigrants from the United States under President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. But what they aren't reporting is the other side of the story: while deportations of criminals under the Secure Communities program, begun under Bush, are up 81,000, deportations of non-criminal aliens are down 58,000.
"Once the pipeline opened under the Bush administration has been emptied, removal of illegal aliens who are not violent criminals will be reduced to a trickle,"Dan Stein of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) said in a statement. "Resources appropriated by Congress intended to carry out worksite and other enforcement in the interior of the country are being used for meaningless paperwork audits, rather than serious enforcement against employers and the removal of illegal aliens from jobs that are desperately needed by American workers."
According to DHS data, administrative arrests have decreased by 77 percent, criminal arrests have fallen by 60 percent, indictments are down 64 percent, and convictions have declined by 68 percent since 2008. The removal of illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes is important and obviously ought to be the highest DHS enforcement priority. But to make a dent in the illegal population and deal with the other problems created by illegal immigration, you need to have enforcement that targets more than illegal alien criminals already in state or local custody. Otherwise, you have window dressing on top of a policy of non-enforcement.
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