Fewer undocumented immigrants who have children with US citizenship are being deported, both in the state of Arizona and the country as a whole. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data has revealed that the removal of immigrants with children who are US citizens in the 2014 fiscal year fell by nearly 50% when compared with the year before.
In 2014 there were almost 2,300 removals in Arizona, in comparison with the 2013 fiscal year tally of 4,413. Across the whole of the United States, there were over 72,000 removals in 2013 and just 39,300 in 2014. Over the course of the last few years, the US government has begun to narrow its priorities when it comes to immigration enforcement, resulting in a decrease in the overall number of deportations and particularly those of families with US-born children. The government says it wants to focus on national security threats and convicted criminals.
In late 2014 President Obama took executive action to create the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program to defer deportation and grant work permits to around 3.7 million undocumented immigrants who had children with US citizenship or were lawful permanent residents; however, the program continues to languish in legal limbo after 26 states, led by Texas, took the government to court.
Wendy Cervantes, the Immigration and Child Rights at First Focus vice-president, says the fall in numbers is unsurprising due to the number of different programs protecting immigrants with US-born children.