POLITICS

U.S. deported a record number of undocumented immigrants in 2013, DHS says

BROADVIEW, IL - MAY 25:  An undocumented immigrant stands cuffed and shackled at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) processing facility before he and other undocumented immigrants were transported to the airport for a deportation flight May 25, 2010 in Broadview, Illinois.  The immigrants at the suburban Chicago facility were flown by charter flight to Harlingen, Texas where they were then bussed to Brownsville and finally walked to the Mexican border and released from custody. The U.S. deports over 350,000 immigrants a year for entering the country illegally, most are Mexican, and more than 90 percent are men.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

BROADVIEW, IL - MAY 25: An undocumented immigrant stands cuffed and shackled at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) processing facility before he and other undocumented immigrants were transported to the airport for a deportation flight May 25, 2010 in Broadview, Illinois. The immigrants at the suburban Chicago facility were flown by charter flight to Harlingen, Texas where they were then bussed to Brownsville and finally walked to the Mexican border and released from custody. The U.S. deports over 350,000 immigrants a year for entering the country illegally, most are Mexican, and more than 90 percent are men. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  (2010 Getty Images)

The Obama administration deported a record number of undocumented immigrants during the fiscal year 2013. According to a newly released report by the Department of Homeland Security, 438,421 deportations were carried out by the administration in 2013. Since taking office, President Barack Obama has presided over 2 million deportations.

Deportations skyrocketed by more than 20,000 over 2012 figures and by more than 50,000 over 2011. The study was conducted by the department’s Office of Immigration Statistics, which is in charge of collecting the most accurate numbers on immigration enforcement.

Migrants with criminal records accounted for 198,394 of the deportations; down slightly from the previous year.

Most of the individuals deported were Mexican; they made up 72 percent of the deportees. Migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador also made up a significant amount. The majority were detained at the Rio Grande Valley section of the border in Texas.

More than 80 percent of those deportations took place without a court order or with the involvement of a judge. Instead, the report shows that the Obama administration has increasingly focused its immigration enforcement efforts on fast-track removal policies and shifted away from implementing the removal of undocumented immigrants that have already settled in the U.S.

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More than 40 percent of the deportations involved the apprehension of migrants detained at the border. This allowed law enforcement to send them back to their home countries without a court order. Immigration courts have been clogged with massive bureaucracy due to the amount of court-issued orders. This has led to the recent rise of fast-track deportations.

Old deportation orders that were never implemented accounted for nearly 40 percent of removals. This procedure does not require a court appearance, either.

According to the report, about 17 percent of the deportations in 2013 required the implementation of a court appearance. This number is down from 36 percent in 2011.

Those numbers will surely give credence to pro-immigration activists, who have recently made their discontent with the administration well known. Earlier this year, the president of the National Council of La Raza, Janet Murguía, dubbed Obama the “deporter in chief.”

A Pew Research survey from earlier this year showed that six-in-ten Hispanic adults are against the administration’s deportation policies. This rise in deportations, along with Obama’s recent announcement that he would delay any executive action on immigration until after November may prove costly for the president and his party in the upcoming mid-term elections.

Speaking at a gala in Washington, D.C., hosted by Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute this week, Obama asked the crowed for their patience while saying that he understood their frustration. 

“I know there's deep frustration in many communities around the country right now, and I understand that frustration because I share it,” Obama said.

Some of the frustration was evident in the audience when a so-called “undocumented activist” named Blanca Hernandez, heckled the president during his speech.

White House officials have already said that the president will seek to shield immigrants with U.S. born children from deportation in order to focus their efforts on recent border crossers and undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

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