I've noted before that the Obama administration has relied heavily on deportations based on the Bush-era Secure Communities program to show it was enforcing immigration laws while actually leaving most illegal immigrants alone. Now it seems the administration relied on even more "unusual methods" to inflate the record deportation figures. The Washington Post reports:
For much of this year, the Obama administration touted its tougher-than-ever approach to immigration enforcement, culminating in a record number of deportations. (Antle's note: Often repeated uncritically in the Washington Post!)
But in reaching 392,862 deportations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement included more than 19,000 immigrants who had exited the previous fiscal year, according to agency statistics. ICE also ran a Mexican repatriation program five weeks longer than ever before, allowing the agency to count at least 6,500 exits that, without the program, would normally have been tallied by the U.S. Border Patrol.
When ICE officials realized in the final weeks of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, that the agency still was in jeopardy of falling short of last year's mark, it scrambled to reach the goal. Officials quietly directed immigration officers to bypass backlogged immigration courts and time-consuming deportation hearings whenever possible, internal e-mails and interviews show.
Instead, officials told immigration officers to encourage eligible foreign nationals to accept a quick pass to their countries without a negative mark on their immigration record, ICE employees said.
That "quick pass" is called "voluntary return," which doesn't leave a bad mark on one's immigration record, preserving the option of applying for legal residence or traveling to the United States later. I've previously reported on talks within the Obama government on granting illegal immigrants administrative amnesty, as well as unionized immigration authorities' displeasure with the administration's approach to enforcement. It's clear that the deportation talk was get-tough posturing to faciliate administrative amnesty, "comprehensive immigration reform," and the DREAM Act.