For years the Obama administration has been arguing that this president has been tougher on immigration than previous presidents. Yesterday Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted that claim was a lie.
Testifying before Congress, Johnson acknowledged Tuesday that deportation numbers are mostly made up of illegal immigrants caught at the border, not those from the interior, which means they can’t be compared one-to-one with deportations under President Bush or other prior administrations. When the real numbers are examined, Obama’s deportations are actually lower than those of the Bush administration.
“Under the Obama administration, more than half of those removals that were attributed to ICE are actually a result of Border Patrol arrests that wouldn’t have been counted in prior administrations,” said Rep. John Culberson, Texas Republican.
“Correct,” Mr. Johnson confirmed.
That would mean that in a one-to-one comparison with the final years of the Bush administration, deportations of those same people under Mr. Obama had actually fallen, according to immigration analysts who have studied the data.
In 2013, ICE was responsible for about 133,000 of the 368,000 immigrants removed. The Washington Times calculated that meant a less than 1 percent risk of an illegal immigrant living in the interior of the U.S. being deported.
Mr. Johnson said they are prioritizing those they think deserve deportation. In the past, illegal immigrants from Mexico who had just illegally crossed the border would often times be returned, only to try again almost immediately. Now, many of them are put into full deportation proceedings.
“We are enforcing the law. We are enforcing the law vigorously and effectively, which results in the removal of over 300,000 people a year over the last several years,” Mr. Johnson said. “We are using the resources Congress gave us to remove those we believe are threats to national security, public safety and border security. And they result in the numbers that you see.”
Keep in mind it wasn’t a sudden burst of conscience motivating the administration to tell the truth: It was politics. The pro-immigration forces have begun to attack the administration for the increased deportations, calling the president “the deporter-in-chief.” It was the pressure from his base, which motivated Obama to fess up.
The administration has been using the higher deportation count as a reason why we should trust this president to enforce any border control provision in a comprehensive immigration bill. The fact that he has been providing bogus numbers is another reason not to trust his intentions, or any immigration bill coming out of the progressive left.