The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls (202) 494-8555

Obama Administration Immigration Deportations Exceed Bush's Record

Second Grader’s Comments Shine Light on Underreported Fact – Deportations are Increasing & 70% are Non-Criminal Deportees


Yesterday's heartbreaking
between a second-grade student and First Lady Michelle
Obama highlighted the fear and deportation rampant under the broken
immigration system. The conversation also drew attention to an
underreported fact - that the Obama administration is deporting more
immigrants than the Bush administration.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "As
the chart
, the Obama administration is on track to deport a record
400,000 people in 2010, 70% of whom are non-criminal undocumented
immigrants who have been caught up in an aggressive dragnet of local,
state and federal raids and enforcement actions. As shocking as these
numbers are, they are proof that Republican calls for increased
immigration enforcement as a pretext to comprehensive immigration reform
are just hollow political pot shots."

Deportations more than doubled in the Bush years and are increasing
even more in the Obama administration. And even among those considered
"criminal" deportees, immigrants could be classified as such for
infractions as minor as selling an unauthorized phone
cards. In conjunction with the fact that border security spending
and personnel have also increased in recent years, the deportation
numbers show that ramped-up, enforcement-only immigration policy already
is the status quo. As a result, Republican calls for increased
immigration enforcement as a necessity before moving forward on
comprehensive immigration reform do not ring true in light of these
numbers and this reality.

Said Sharry, "Every day, bad actor employers exploit immigrant
workers, undercut American workers and undermine honest competitors.
Every day, Americans become more frustrated and more polarized as
Washington dithers. Unfortunately, the vacuum created by the lack of
action on comprehensive immigration reform has been filled by ramped up
federal enforcement and discriminatory laws like Arizona's. It's time
to deliver on the change that Obama promised on immigration, such as
when he spoke eloquently to the National Council of La Raza and said, "The system isn't
working when 12 million people live in hiding, and hundreds of thousands
cross our borders illegally each year; when companies hire undocumented
immigrants instead of legal citizens to avoid paying overtime or to
avoid a union; when communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids -
when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come
home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained
without access to legal counsel."

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.