Opinion

Obama wants Homeland Security to consider deporting fewer people

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Immigration,Barack Obama,Homeland Security,Border Security,Jeh Johnson,Deportation

President Obama, under pressure from immigration activists, wants Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to consider deporting fewer people by focusing only on those with serious criminal records.

"The potential change could shield tens of thousands of immigrants now removed each year solely because of repeated immigration violations, such as re-entering the country after being deported," the Associated Press reports, explaining that Obama has ordered Johnson to review existing policy.

The change would diminish an interior enforcement policy that is already lax. "If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero -- it's just highly unlikely to happen," former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Sandweg, who told the AP that he has discussed the new policy review with administration officials, told the Los Angeles Times.

The L.A. Times explained that the Obama team's deportation statistics come almost entirely from border enforcement.

"Until recent years, most people caught illegally crossing the southern border were simply bused back into Mexico in what officials called 'voluntary returns,' but which critics derisively termed 'catch and release,'" per the Times' report. "Those removals, which during the 1990s reached more 1 million a year, were not counted in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's deportation statistics. Now, the vast majority of border crossers who are apprehended get fingerprinted and formally deported."

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