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Letter: Obama deportations not portrayed accurately

By Paul Westrum, Albert Lea

In recent months illegal-alien sympathizers have been promoting the storyline that President Obama has deported more illegals than any previous president. Nearly every news story about immigration policy today repeats this claim, including The New York Times, which recently stated: “Since taking office, President Obama has deported more than 1.9 million foreigners, immigration officials announced last week, a record for any American president.” But that’s not true — not even close.

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According to the federal government office that compiles and publishes immigration statistics, the Obama administration actually has the lowest number of deportations and the lowest average annual number of deportations since the Nixon administration. This information isn’t buried in some government archive, not does it require a Freedom of Information request to obtain. It’s on the Department of Homeland Security’s website in an annual publication routinely consulted by nearly everyone who covers this issue. Going way back to 1927 it’s the most reliable source on immigration statistics, comparable to the Bureau of Labor Statistics that calculates the unemployment rate.

There we find that in its first four years, the Obama administration deported 3.2 million aliens, averaging about 800,000 per year. Official numbers for 2013 haven’t been released as of yet, but indications are that the total will be about the same. These numbers include all deportations done by all DHS officers at the border, at the ports of entry, and from the interior of the country. That’s nowhere near the 10.3 million deported by the George W. Bush administration, averaging more than 1.3 million per year. The actual deportation record is held by the Clinton administration that sent back 12.3 million over eight years. Even the Carter administration deported more than the Obama administration.

Moreover, the Obama administration’s assertions are hyped. More than half the deportations they’re claiming were for people caught by the Border Patrol trying to enter illegally who were transferred briefly to ICE custody, then deported — not resident illegal aliens “torn from their families” in the interior.