Immigrant rights groups insist that Obama should have used his executive powers when he said he was going to. Instead, they claim, he has delayed action on helping the over 13 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.
The current administration’s record of frantic deportations is speaking louder than its refrains of imminent immigration reform – maybe. If Obama is able to overcome his newest moniker of Deporter-in-Chief and explain to Latin American communities why he chose to delay executive action, perhaps something may get done during the final months of the year.
Deportation is continuing at a frantic rate, with the latest government publication revealing that in 2013, 438,421 people were sent back to their homelands, which included Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. That figure includes roughly 315,000 Mexican nationals and 198,400 individuals with criminal records. This is an increase of approximately 20,000 over the statistics from 2012.
The Rio Grande Valley is a major hub of illegal crossing attempts, with 154,450 people apprehended on the border in 2013. The Laredo and Tucson sectors nabbed 50,750 and 121,000 respectively.
The latest deportation figures, even though they are frighteningly high, seem to indicate that those being deported are recent illegal immigrants. There appears to be less of an emphasis on enforcement within U.S. borders. Is that a telling diversion from the usual ICE raids? The situation is continually in flux. Obama has consistently received opprobrium for deporting illegal residents who have lived in the United States for many years.
In truth, the attempt to keep deportations in step with enforcement is an almost impossible task, given the numbers of illegal immigrants trying to cross every year.
Republicans make it a point to harp continuously about lax enforcement policies. However, they never seem to have any better solutions. In reality, it will likely not matter who was in power in Washington when it finally comes time to actually do something about immigration reform.