Though Trump has made statements against illegal immigrants, the present POTUS did more to push out immigrants than any other president in history.
President Barack Obama has often been referred to by immigration groups as the “Deporter in Chief.”
Between 2009 and 2015 his administration has removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders, which doesn’t include the number of people who “self-deported” or were turned away and/or returned to their home country at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
How does he compare to other presidents?
According to governmental data, the Obama administration has deported more people than any other president’s administration in history.
In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century.
President George W. Bush’s administration deported just over two million during his time in office; and Obama’s numbers don’t reflect his last year in office, for which data is not yet available.
Who is being deported?
President Obama directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to focus on criminals, not families, during his November 2014 executive action on immigration.
According to their website, “ICE has continued to increase its focus on identifying, arresting, and removing convicted criminals in prisons and jails, and also at-large arrests in the interior.”
In fiscal year 2015, 91 percent of people removed from inside the U.S. were previously convicted of a crime.
The administration made the first priority “threats to national security, border security, and public safety.” That includes gang members, convicted felons or charged with “aggravated felony” and anyone apprehended at the border trying to enter the country illegally.
In 2015, 81 percent, or 113,385, of the removals were the priority one removals.
Priority two includes “misdemeanants and new immigration violators.”
That includes “aliens convicted of three or more misdemeanor offenses, other than minor traffic” violations, as well as those convicted of domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, DUIs or drug trafficking.
Who is not being deported?
With the focus on criminals and not families, the administration has moved away from those living and working in the U.S. without a criminal history.
“Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day,” Obama said in November 2014 when announcing his executive action on immigration.
And while he tried to provide relief and a way “out of the shadows” for those without criminal histories with his immigration action, that was eventually stricken down by the Supreme Court not issuing a decision on the case, thereby upholding the lower courts action.
But by refocusing on criminals most families who are living and following the law are not targets for deportations.
What about raids against mothers and children?
Priority three for the administration is focused on those who have arrived after January 1, 2014. The administration has focused on preventing families from sending their children unaccompanied on a dangerous trek by emphasizing they will be returned.
Many of these unaccompanied children and mothers with children are fleeing violence in central America—coming from the northern triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, some of the most dangerous countries in the world.
Many of the people migrating from that area to the U.S. claim refugee status and, if they can prove real harm will result in their being returned, they are allowed to remain until their case is heard.
There are critics, however, who state that many are not getting a fair shot at claiming refugee status and are being returned too hastily.