Deportation numbers are not as they seem

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Regarding the Feb. 12 editorial “The Blame Game: Obama Isn’t the Obstacle on Immigration Reform”:

The Economist, a respected U.K. publication, but without special expertise in American immigration statistics, had referred to President Barack Obama as the “deporter in chief.” The Post-Gazette writes of nearly 2 million illegal aliens deported on his five-year watch, 359,000 of them in fiscal 2013. However, The Economist did acknowledge that in 2013 only 134,000 of the claimed deportations were persons removed from the interior of the United States, the other 225,000 having been caught at the border.

In previous administrations, the majority of these 225,000 would have been expeditiously sent back to Mexico or other homeland and counted as border patrol returns, not deportations. Now, if instead they get registered and processed, often just for a day or two, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an action which will carry a greater potential for prison term if the alien re-enters illegally, the move will be called a deportation rather than a return.

Paradoxically, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States ticked up from 11.3 million in 2009 to 11.7 million in 2012. This would be inconsistent with the claimed mass removal of illegals actually living in the United States, unless the illegal inflow during these years was even larger than some believe.

Augmented mandatory E-Verify and a biometric entry-exit system to prevent future illegal immigration are essential to reform. The reputed deportation numbers do not really allay concerns that these programs, if enacted, might not be enforced.


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