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Is President Obama Deporting The Most Violent Criminal Immigrants? Studies Say Otherwise

  • MESA, AZ - JUNE 24:  An undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, chained for being charged as a criminal, prepares to board a deportation flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on June 24, 2011 in Mesa, Arizona. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, ICE, repatriates thousands of undocumented Guatemalans monthly, many of whom are caught in the controversial "Secure Communities" data-sharing program which puts local police on the frontlines of national immigration enforcement. ICE recently announced a set of adjustments to the federal program after many local communities and some states, including New York, insisted on opting out, saying immigrants were being deported for minor offenses such as traffic violations. Guatemala ranks only second to Mexico in the number of illegal immigrants deported from the United States.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    MESA, AZ - JUNE 24: An undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, chained for being charged as a criminal, prepares to board a deportation flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on June 24, 2011 in Mesa, Arizona. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, ICE, repatriates thousands of undocumented Guatemalans monthly, many of whom are caught in the controversial "Secure Communities" data-sharing program which puts local police on the frontlines of national immigration enforcement. ICE recently announced a set of adjustments to the federal program after many local communities and some states, including New York, insisted on opting out, saying immigrants were being deported for minor offenses such as traffic violations. Guatemala ranks only second to Mexico in the number of illegal immigrants deported from the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

  • MESA, AZ - DECEMBER 08:  An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officer prepares an undocumented Salvadorian immigrant for a deportation flight bound for San Salvador on December 8, 2010 in Mesa, Arizona. Of the 111 Salvadorians on the flight, most had criminal records and were sent home in chains. Although illegal immigration to the United States has decreased nationally in the last few years, ICE deported almost 400,000 people in the last year, which is a record. Of that number, almost half had criminal records. The Obama administration has made targeting undocumented criminals a priority in its immigration enforcement policy.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    MESA, AZ - DECEMBER 08: An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officer prepares an undocumented Salvadorian immigrant for a deportation flight bound for San Salvador on December 8, 2010 in Mesa, Arizona. Of the 111 Salvadorians on the flight, most had criminal records and were sent home in chains. Although illegal immigration to the United States has decreased nationally in the last few years, ICE deported almost 400,000 people in the last year, which is a record. Of that number, almost half had criminal records. The Obama administration has made targeting undocumented criminals a priority in its immigration enforcement policy. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  (2010 Getty Images)

Questions continue to swirl around President Obama's apparent doublespeak on the enforcement of the nation's immigration laws.

He has remained steadfast on pushing for reform and unilaterally enacted policy changes that have benefited young undocumented immigrants, so-called "Dreamers."

But activists continue targeting him for his record volume of deportations, accusing him of being responsible for splitting immigrant families.

In terms of deportations, Obama has insisted his main focus is on kicking out the most violent immigrants. But various studies and reports point out such is not the case.

Only 637 of the 17,689 people deported from the United States in the first two months of the 2014 fiscal year were removed on the basis of convictions for aggravated felonies, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse said.

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That figure works out to fewer than one in 25 of those expelled from the country between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, which marks the federal fiscal year.

Alleged criminal activity was cited in 13.5 percent of requests filed with courts for removal orders, compared with 15.5 percent in fiscal 2012, according to TRAC, a nonpartisan think tank based at Syracuse University.

The vast majority of deportations were for entering the United States without authorization or other immigration offenses.

Cases of deportations because of criminal charges have dropped in recent years. During the 1990s, that category averaged close to 25 percent.

Since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the United States has deported an average of 400,000 people a year, compared with 200,000 in 2007, the peak year for deportations during the 2001-2009 tenure of George W. Bush.

Deportations declined to 368,644 in fiscal 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the Homeland Security agency tasked with arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants — said last week in its annual report.

Nearly 2 million people have been expelled from the country during the years of the Obama administration.