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What’s The Deal With Deportations?



ICE raids. Threats of arrests. Heated political debate.

What’s the real deal when it comes to *deportations* in America?

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What To Know

ICE uses two deportation categories:

Removals: a person who had been in the U.S. illegally, received a court order of removal (deportation), and is confirmed to have left.

Returns: a person who did not receive a court order of removal but leaves the U.S. – i.e., someone turned away at the border who exits the country.

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Context Matters

How the U.S. handles deportations over the last 20 years changes depending on how you look at these categories.

  • “Removals” peaked during the Obama administration: 432,448
  • “Returns” peaked during the Clinton administration: 1,675,876
  • Since 2013, both removals & returns have declined.
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  • Up to this point, the Trump admin. has deported fewer people than the Obama admin. The Obama admin deported fewer people than the Bush & Clinton administrations.
  • ICE says 1 million+ people have currently received final removal notices. 2,000 were reportedly the focus of this weekend’s raids.
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“The Trump administration would have to increase the pace of interior removals dramatically to reach Obama’s previous peak. Unless something dramatic changes, that won’t happen…”

The Cato Institute says Obama admin (which focused on illegal immigrants w/criminal records) received more support from local law enforcement than Trump admin (which focuses on the record # of families apprehended crossing the border) when it comes to enforcing immigration laws.
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When focusing on illegal immigration in the "interior" of America (outside of the southern border), less than 1% of the total estimated illegal immigrant population has been removed in recent years.

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