On Tuesday the Obama administration formally disclosed the fact that the figures for immigrants deported from the United States have fallen to the lowest level since 2006. The Department of Homeland Security deported around 235,413 people between October 2014 and September this year, while during the same time period 337,117 individuals were apprehended attempting to illegally cross the US border.
In October the Associated Press reported that around 231,000 people had been deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as of September 28th. The Department of Homeland Security has previously claimed that the fall in the number of deportations was primarily caused by a fall in arrests on the border, with apprehensions dropping by around 30% from last year.
The border arrests in 2015 included around 79,800 people traveling as unaccompanied minors and families, primarily from Central America. The final released figures do not include Mexicans apprehended at the US border and rapidly returned home by Border Patrol. “Last year’s removal numbers reflect this department’s increased focus on prioritizing convicted criminals and threats to public safety, border security and national security,” claimed Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in a statement.
In the 2015 budget year there were around 136,700 deportations of convicted criminal immigrants, a slight rise from around 56% in 2014 to around 59%. The immigration policies pursued by the Obama administration have been criticized as both too weak and too harsh, with Republicans describing the policies as ‘back door amnesty’.