Officials from the Department of Homeland Security say that the reluctance to enforce immigration laws in ‘sanctuary cities’ and the changing reality of undocumented immigrants has resulted in the massive decrease in the amount of people deported from the United States over the course of the last few years.
Friday saw the release of statistics revealing that around 315,00 undocumented immigrants were deported by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the 2014 fiscal year, which was a big fall from more than 360,000 in the previous year and more than 410,000 two years ago in 2012. President Obama has been looking for ways to reduce the amount of ordinary immigrants being deported and claims that only around 15,000 of the immigrants deported over the last year were not convicted criminals.
In a conference call with reporters, officials also pointed out that many local and state police were now refusing to honor requests from the federal government to hold suspected undocumented immigrants in custody until ICE agents came to retrieve them for deportation. A total of 10,182 such requests were refused last year.
President Obama argues that Congress wrote the laws and that he is following them; however, he has discretion when it comes to deciding which undocumented immigrants should and should not be deported. Critics point to figures showing that there has been an increase in the amount of undocumented immigrants apprehended trying to illegally enter the United States this year.