On the heels of a front-page New York Times story on immigration and deportations this week, Michael C. Bender at Bloomberg News today also takes a look at data from ICE. Contrary to what the Obama Administration claims, a substantial number of deportations target immigrants who would qualify for legislative immigration reform, yet are removed as a result of current laws that go out of their way to criminalize immigrants:
About 76,200 immigrants, representing some 20 percent of all deportations from the U.S. last year, were expelled after being convicted of immigration-related crimes or traffic offenses, the immigration and customs data show. Those infractions generally wouldn’t block citizenship under the Senate measure….
The shift has made a difference: More than 216,800 immigrants were convicted of a crime before being deported in 2013, compared with 132,500 in 2008, according to ICE data. About half of that increase was from a 185 percent rise in undocumented immigrants convicted of immigration-related crimes.
The new data show many immigrants are being deported for misdemeanor crimes or offenses that wouldn’t bar citizenship under the Senate bill. Of 368,600 deportations last year, about 63,800 were for immigration-related crimes, while 12,400 were for traffic offenses, ICE data show.