In a recent address at American University in Washington, D.C., Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the agency’s immigration enforcement strategy, saying border security with Mexico has been strengthened and deportations of dangerous criminals have reached record-high levels since President Barack Obama took office.
To accompany Napolitano’s speech, DHS released a fact sheet breaking down the numbers. The fact sheet states that since Obama became president, DHS agents on the southwest border have seized 75 percent more currency, 31 percent more drugs and 64 percent more weapons than they did during the last two and a half years of the Bush presidency. Overall, illegal immigration attempts have decreased 36 percent during the last two years, according to the fact sheet.
In terms of deportation statistics, the fact sheet states that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency removed more than 195,000 convicted criminals in 2010, the highest number ever. Also in 2010, more than half of ICE deportations were convicted criminals, the highest percentage in decades.
In her speech, Napolitano said she expects 2011 removals will also be at historic levels. However, she stressed that thanks to a comprehensive review process recently mandated by the president, the majority of deportations will be high-priority individuals such as dangerous criminals.
Immigrant rights activists have praised the review process, but critics have claimed it is a back-door route to grant undocumented residents amnesty.