On September 9, I wrote that the Obama administration, based on statistics from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was nearing its millionth deportation. It seems I was only about three days off. According to Reuters, the administration hit that milestone on September 12. How does that compare with Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush? The answer, if you’ve been hearing Republicans accuse Obama of “backdoor amnesty” and holding the border hostage, may surprise you.
The Obama administration had deported about 1.06 million as of September 12, against 1.57 million in Bush’s two full presidential terms.
That’s right, Obama is on the verge of deporting more undocumented immigrants in a single term than Bush did his full eight years in office.
Despite the administration’s stated focus on unauthorized immigrants with criminal records, more than half of those deported had no criminal records, 54 percent to 46 percent. But that number doesn’t convey what percentage of removals categorized as criminal include serious or violent offenses as opposed to minor ones.
Theoretically Obama’s strict enforcement policies were supposed to lay the groundwork for comprehensive immigration reform. But being a bigger enforcement hawk than Bush not only didn’t bring any Republicans to the table; it also hasn’t torn them from the alternate universe in which Obama is mailing green cards to every unauthorized immigrant in the country. Give that more than half of Latino voters know someone who is undocumented, there could be subsantial consequences for the president when he seeks to win the Latino vote again in 2012. There’s always the possibility, though, that the GOP will rescue the president’s standing among Latino voters when they seek to harness the anti-immigrant fervor of their base.
Just ten days before Obama passed the million deportation mark, Mitt Romney said that “Three years ago, Candidate Obama promised to address the problems of illegal immigration in America. He failed. The truth is, he didn’t even try.”
More than a million deportations, and his first term isn’t even up yet. I wonder what the numbers would look like if Obama were trying.