Despite talk of shifting-away from deportation-only immigration policies, the Obama administration scaled up enforcement in order to mollify critics, according to a new report from the Immigration Policy Center. The authors tracked the Department of Homeland Security’s actions over the past two years and gave it mixed reviews in terms of its progress in transparency, coordination and prioritization.
The Obama administration reiterated time and again its commitment to Comprehensive Immigration Reform, but in the vacuum, business as usual continued and 2010 was actually a record year in terms of the number of deportations–around 400,000. According to the report, DHS put most reforms on hold while more or less waiting for CIR to kick in–which never happened. In a sense, the administration is using congressional inaction as a shield to excuse it from making its own reforms, which the authors say is a ruse because the executive branch has significant powers to change policies. They feel DHS is being intimidated.
“Time and again, fear of criticism, especially from Congress, stymied good policy and good ideas.”
DHS was “better on paper than in practice” in the sense that there was a disconnect between their spoken line to communities, and what actually occurred. Repeatedly, DHS stated in 2010 that deportation efforts were focused on serious criminals, but in actuality the 287(g) and Secure Communities programs led to the majority of deportees being non-criminals or people convicted of minor offences.
To see the whole report, go to immigrationpolicy.org.