U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently claimed that illegal immigrant deportation levels are at an all time high, but internal agency documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee reveal that deportation levels are actually down approximately 20 percent since 2009.
“Administration officials claim that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has deported a record number of illegal immigrants but the facts show that they have fabricated their deportation statistics by illegitimately adding over 100,000 removals to their deportation figures for the past two years,” said Lamar Smith, House Judiciary Committee Chairman.
The discrepancy comes from ICE’s decision to include Alien Transfer Exit Program numbers in with the overall deportation count. ATEP is an ongoing program that relocates apprehended Mexican nationals from one Border Patrol Sector to another before deporting them to Mexico.
Without the ATEP figures, the 2011 removal total would go from approximately 397,000 to 360,000 individuals. The 2012 removal is much larger, and would drop from approximately 334,000 down to 263,000 deportees. The House Judiciary Committee also claims that the 2012 ICE statistics also include 40,000 additional arrests that do not fall under the ATEP category and are therefore completely unaccounted for.
The controversy comes during the 2012 presidential election campaign season, leading many to question the motives of President Barack Obama.
“In a campaign season when Administration officials have made a habit of spinning their numbers to ignore their real record, it’s no surprise that they are doing the same to their immigration record,” Smith said. “It seems like President Obama is trying to trick the American people into thinking he is enforcing our immigration laws. But no amount of spin can cover up the facts. It’s bad enough that the President has neglected to enforce our immigration laws but it’s even worse that his Administration would distort statistics to deceive the American people.”
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