Although President Barack Obama has yet to live up to his campaign promise of pushing immigration legislation through, he has met his postelection pledge of slowing deportations with or without approval from Congress.
Since October, Homeland Security has deported the fewest numbers of immigrants in the country illegally since Obama took office in 2009. As a result, the administration is on track to remove the fewest immigrants since 2006 when former President George W. Bush was in office.
Shortly before Obama's re-election in 2012, Obama had created a program to allow young immigrants to stay and work in the country illegally up to two years at a time. He also attempted to protect more than 4 million immigrants from deportation by expanding that protection program to parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents; but that is on hold because a federal judge in Texas blocked its start. Despite Republican opposition, the slowdown is still taking place.
In 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent home a record 409,000 immigrants, but those types of whopping numbers have slowed. The latest figures show that it is expected that the government will remove about 236,000 by September, which is the lowest figure since 2006 when 207,776 people were sent home.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has directed immigration authorities to specifically focus on finding and deporting immigrants who pose a national security or public safety threat, those who have serious criminal records and those who have recently crossed the Mexican border. It is believed that 11 million immigrants are living in the country illegally.
In an oversight hearing Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, "With the resources we have ... I'm interested in focusing on criminals and recent illegal arrivals at the border. There's lower intake, lower apprehensions. There are fewer people attempting to cross the southern border, and there are fewer people apprehended."
Last year, immigrants from countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala outpaced those from Mexico when border agents had to deal with a flood of tens of thousands of children and families. None of the families asking for U.S. government asylum can be quickly sent home.
Photo: Sun Financial Group