U.S. deporting more immigrants under Obama administration
We had a story in today’s Orlando Sentinel looking at the latest statistics on deportation of unauthorized immigrants from the United States – and for the second-year in a row they show increases from the levels of deportations seen under the Bush administration, which many immigrant advocates had decried.
There is, however, a gradual shift in who’s being deported. The Obama administration has stepped up its deportations of immigrants with criminal records. Many are taken right out of the county jails to be sent back to their countries of origin. All Florida county jails joined that convict deportation program this year.
Marc Jeffrey Moore, the field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s removal operations in Florida, told me his goal is “to identify every individual” who is in custody and is deportable.
“What [better] strategy could there possibly be than to take egregious convicted criminal offenders off the streets of our communities, keep them from the potential to harm American citizens and to effectively remove them from the United States?” Moore said.
But immigrant advocates feel that the Obama administration has failed them after promising comprehensive immigration reform.
“The immigrant community feels under attack because this government has not been doing what it promised,” said Tirso Moreno, general coordinator in Apopka of the Farmworker Association of Florida. “We are not going to advocate for criminals not to be deported,” Moreno went on, “but there are many people here who are just working to support their families and they are the majority of those who go.”
The numbers do show that, despite the increase in criminal deportations, six of every ten deportees from Florida did not have any criminal records in the last fiscal year. See the full story in today’s Orlando Sentinel.
As many newspapers reported today, President Obama defended himself from the immigrant’s community outcry during a radio interview in which he said that this would be a long fight, akin to the civil rights struggle for racial equality, in which Latino voters have to pitch in to put pressure on Congress.
“Let me say this as an African-American,” Obama was quoted as saying. “We worked for decades on civil rights… It didn’t come after two years. People had to march, they had to have their heads beaten, they had fire hoses put on them… Change isn’t easy. It doesn’t happen overnight.”