Immigration

Is Obama Really the ‘Deporter in Chief?’

New York Times: “New deportation cases brought by the Obama administration in the nation’s immigration courts have been declining steadily since 2009, and judges have increasingly ruled against deportations, leading to a 43 percent drop in the number of deportations through the courts in the last five years, according to Justice Department statistics released on Wednesday.”

“The statistics present a different picture of President Obama’s enforcement policies than the one painted by many immigrant advocates … While Mr. Obama has deported more foreigners than any other president, the pace of deportations has recently declined.”

Vox paints a bigger picture of deportations under the Obama administration to include total deportations:

“Increasingly, the Obama administration has been deporting people without hearings. Anyone caught in that large ‘border’ zone can be deported through a process called ‘expedited removal.’ The same goes for anyone who’s been deported previously. These ‘expedited removals’ have become far more common.”

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Obama Orders Review of Deportations

President Obama said that “deportations of illegal immigrants should be more humane, and to make that happen, he has ordered a review of his administration’s enforcement efforts,” the New York Times reports.

“More illegal immigrants have been deported during the Obama administration than under any previous president, officials have said. Within weeks, the government is likely to have deported two million immigrants during Mr. Obama’s six years in office, a milestone that has intensified anger among some Hispanics.”

“The issue could be a critical one in midterm elections this year for Democratic candidates, many of whom rely on Latinos to turn out and vote for them in big numbers.”

Protests Continue Over ‘Greatest Mass Deportation in U.S. History’

MSNBC: “Around 30 religious leaders, immigrants, and supporters holding signs and singing songs in protest to President Obama’s deportation policy were arrested outside the north gate of the White House Monday.”

The protest was organized by the United Methodist Church and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The Economist: Obama “has presided over the greatest mass deportation in American history. As our chart shows, he has tossed far more Mexicans and other illegal immigrants out of the country than his predecessors.”

Food Prices Could Spike Without Immigration Reform

The New York Times reports that a new study commissioned by the American Farm Bureau reveals that “food prices would increase an additional 5 to 6 percent over the next five years if enforcement-only [immigration] policies were put into place, because of a lack of workers to harvest crops. It would cost the agriculture sector as much as $60 billion over the same period.”

“Agriculture officials say the current system [of granting foreign workers only temporary visas] does not work because industries like dairy farming and meat production are year-round enterprises and are unable to fill their need for workers. They also say the program is overly bureaucratic. Among the changes the farm sector wants to see is the replacement of the seasonal visa program with one that would allow workers to accept a job under a three-year visa.”

House Prepares ‘Broad Principles’ for Immigration Reform Package

Wall Street Journal: “Behind the scenes, Republican lawmakers already are writing detailed legislation, with the encouragement of House GOP leaders, that would also offer the chance at citizenship for many here illegally, as Republicans work to find a mix of proposals that can pass the chamber… They will include a call to grant legal status to millions of people now in the country illegally, people familiar with the plans say, a step that many in the GOP oppose as a reward for people who broke U.S. law.”

“The GOP principles will embrace legal status for many of the nation’s 11.5 million illegal immigrants, people close to the process said, knowing that Democrats likely will insist on such a plan in return for support needed to pass legislation. They will also offer citizenship for people brought to the U.S. as children, new enforcement provisions and fixes to the legal immigration system, these people said.”

Majority of Americans Support Pathway to Citizenship

The New York Times reports on a new survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute: “A consistent and solid majority of Americans — 63 percent — crossing party and religious lines favors legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the United States illegally, while only 14 percent support legal residency with no option for citizenship.”

“In June, the Senate passed a broad bipartisan bill with a 13-year pathway to citizenship that includes the hurdles mentioned in the poll: paying back taxes and passing English tests and criminal background checks. House leaders have said they will not take up that measure, but will address immigration issues in smaller bills. Several House Republican leaders have said they are drafting measures that would provide “lawful status” for many unauthorized immigrants but no “special path” to citizenship.”

“According to the report, nearly seven in 10 Americans believe the 13-year wait for citizenship under the Senate bill is too long, while 24 percent said it was just right.”

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans — 65 percent — say the United States’ immigration system is either completely or mostly broken.”

Immigration Reform Advocates Gear up for a Fight

With support for immigration reform dwindling in the House of Representatives, reform advocates are gearing up for a fight.

According to Molly Ball, “many activists have already begun to take a more aggressive tack, arguing that lobbying is over—it’s time for revenge.”

Frank Sharry, an immigration-reform advocate who heads America’s Voice, concurs: “We can’t force them to get to yes, but we can make them pay a price for getting to no … If this Congress isn’t going to pass immigration reform, let’s elect a Congress that will.”

An eclectic, bipartisan group of immigration reform activists has been frustrated by Republicans’ apparent shift from passing an immigration law to “winning [the] crusade against the many-splendored disaster that is the health-care law’s implementation.”

This frustration has only fueled the activists to take action: “Sharry estimates there are five to 10 Republicans in the House who could be defeated if the Latino vote goes strongly enough against them—not enough to hand the House to Democrats, who are currently 17 seats from the majority, but enough to send a message.”