Post 9/11 Impact on Deporting Immigrants

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

This month we commemorated the 10th anniversary of September 11th when terrorists attacked US soil and forever changed the landscape of our immigration system. Gone was the legacy INS and with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Customs & Enforcement (otherwise known as “ICE”), a new report released by The Transactional Records Clearinghouse (TRAC) presents a detailed analysis of the dramatic increase in deportation in the aftermath of 9/11. Under the Bush and Obama administrations, deportations have been carried out under the name of national security to ward off terrorists and safeguard the country and its people from further danger and harm. However, the figures released in the TRAC report demonstrate that a large number of people deported were not terrorists and if anything, incidences of actual or potential terrorists who were deported have decreased. The report based its studies on data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which maintains official immigration court records from removal proceedings. To obtain annual state-by-state, court-by-court, hearing office-by-hearing office and nationality-by-nationality information about these deportation filings in the decade before and after 9/11 click here. Under the Obama administration, there has been repeated emphasis through both speeches and policy memoranda that ICE, the agency charged with detentions and deportation of immigrants, is focusing its resources on high priority suspects, namely those with a criminal record. However, based on the studies conducted and shown in the TRAC report, in sheer numbers the actual count of those charged with criminal violations has fallen by 22 percent from the comparable period one year ago. In fact, while the volume of all deportation proceedings during the last 12 months still exceeds the average annual level under the previous administration, the proportion of deportation proceedings charging criminal violations has fallen below the average level during the Bush years. Despite the tremendous amount of rhetoric and public sentiments on the issue of immigration enforcement, it is a topic that is far from being cut and dry and will surely occupy voters’ attention during the upcoming 2012 elections.

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