The Administration Should Stop Deporting People Who Would Qualify For Immigration Status under Pending Legislation
Washington, DC—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just announced that the federal government deported 368,644 immigrants in the past fiscal year. While this represents a reduction from the previous year, it remains true that the Obama Administration has ramped up deportations to record levels. The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“It’s sickening that the Obama Administration is deporting more immigrants than any other Administration in history, especially when the vast majority of those being deported qualify for legal status and a chance to earn citizenship under legislation the Obama Administration supports. What the President and new DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson should do is stop deporting people who are eligible for immigration status under pending legislation and tell ICE to stop ripping hard working immigrants away from their families and jobs. At a time of year when families should be celebrating together, it’s heartbreaking that our government is setting records for separating families.
“There is a huge gap between what they say and what they do. DHS announced prosecutorial discretion policies in 2011 aimed at focusing deportation on the ‘worst of the worst,’ and yet these policies have never been fully implemented. They claim that most of those being deported are ‘convicted criminals’ – a scary label until you realize that their own definitions of ‘convicted criminals’ include traffic violations and minor nuisance offenses (see here and here). They claim that the only answer is legislation – which really is the best and most permanent solution – but refuse to simultaneously use their substantial administrative authority to rein in the out-of-control detention and deportation machinery. The time is now for the Administration to do its part to stop deporting people who are anything but ‘criminals’ and have deep roots and make huge contributions to the country they now call home.”