Musings on Immigration
Much has been written in the last two days about the Obama Administration's release of its FY 2013 official "removal statistics." Some have noted that the number of removals (this means displacement of people to foreign countries that they may have had no contact with for decades) went down by 10% from FY2012's record level. Yet, Obama's ICE still deported 369,000 men, women and children (yes children) in the 12 months of 2013. That is 30,750 people a month, 1,111 people a day, 42 people every hour, or almost one person, every 90 seconds, of every day, all year long. This "lower" number of deportations is a higher number of people deported in one year than President Bush ever deported in one year in his entire presidency. Let's not kid ourselves. Obama's ICE is a people deportation machine. Every part of that machine is well-oiled to either convince people to accept deportation by deceptive means (e.g. you have no relief), force them to accept it (by detention in remote hell-holes like the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, Georgia), or giving the Border Patrol summary removal authority at the border and airports.
A deep dive into these numbers reveals some startling facts. About 40% of those removed in FY 2013 were not the "gang-bangers" Obama said he was focused on removing from the US. In fact, this 40% had NO criminal background whatsoever, and many of those considered "criminals" by ICE are actually only guilty of simple traffic offenses, euphemistically referred to as DWH, Driving while Hispanic, or even civil immigration status violations. MANY of this 40% have lived in the United States for years, (the average is for over a decade), and most have U.S. Citizen children or spouses in the United States. Not to put too fine a point on it, but since July 1, 2010 and September 31, 2012, Obama's ICE removed 204,810 PARENTS of U.S. Citizen CHILDREN. There is anticipated long-term socio, psycho, and economic damage from ripping these children from their parent's arms. Are we not better than this? Is this leadership?
Finally, an analysis of Obama as the Deportation President (a real legacy that will dog him through history) is how aggressive on immigration enforcement Obama has been since he took office. He has now deported more than 2,000,000 people in just 5 years in office, something President Bush took 8 years to do. Criminal prosecutions of immigration-related offenses (typically reentry after deportation--most people usually try to come back to their children) are at their highest point in history, up 468% since 2003, putting enormous strain on an already underfunded federal court system. And, Obama's ICE detains more than 430,000 people a year solely for immigration purposes, IN REAL JAILS (and for-profit private prisons with a mandatory daily number of 34,000 people), at a taxpayer cost of about $2,000,000,000 ($2 Billion) a year!
Obama's real legacy is one of destroying immigrant families, exacerbating an already broken immigration system, and in failing to lead out on an immigration reform package that will help our families AND our economy. There is still time for him to recover, but that time is running out fast. Let's pray he is successful before he destroys more families.