But what they fail to take into account are the measures the Obama administration has taken over the last three years to change the trajectory. As I wrote about here, not many people (other than the nativist wingnuts) noticed that in 2011, ICE Director John Morton issued a memo directing his staff to use "prosecutorial discretion" in the "apprehension, detention and removal" of undocumented people based on several criteria. The overall focus of their efforts was to be directed at those with criminal records. All of this was done prior to President Obama's executive order a year later granting DREAMers legal status.
And now, Simon Rosenberg analyzes the latest ICE report to demonstrate the impact of those measures on deportations in 2013.
...almost all of those deported in 2013 were either convicted criminals or people caught at the border attempting to enter the country illegally. Remarkably, only 10,336 non-criminal, non-border-crossers were removed from the country in FY 2013. In 2009, based on one estimate, this number was closer to 150,000. The percentage of those deported who are convicted criminals has risen from 35% in 2009, to 59% in 2013.Of course that doesn't mean we're there yet. The best way to solve this problem is for the House to pass the Senate's bi-partisan immigration reform bill, which includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers. But the Republicans are blocking that from happening. And so yesterday President Obama met with members of the Hispanic Caucus to explore what more the administration can do.
President Barack Obama is directing top immigration officials to review U.S. deportation practices to see whether they can be carried out “more humanely” while still enforcing the laws on the books.
In an evening meeting with Latino lawmakers, Obama said he still wanted to push a comprehensive immigration reform package but that, in the meantime, he had asked the head of the Department of Homeland Security to run an “inventory” of the agency’s practices.
Obama “emphasized his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement released after the meeting.