Fewer Deportations, More Repeat Offenders

For the second time in a very short span, I am writing about an immigration-related item to be found in the New York Times. Earlier this week, I commented on an article entitled “Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border“.

Now I find myself looking retrospectively to an article which preceded that one by a matter of days, and feeling obliged to respond to some of the assertions that can be found within it. This article was published by the Times on April 6, with the heading “More Deportations Follow Minor Crimes, Records Show“.

The piece begins on a questionable note: “With the Obama administration deporting illegal immigrants at a record pace…” As my colleague Jessica Vaughan has indisputably shown, the administration has done no such thing.

Instead, the claim of “record” deportations was done by the statistical sleight-of-hand of permitting one Department of Homeland Security agency (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE) to “adopt” the apprehensions of another DHS component (U.S. Border Patrol) and then claim those adopted numbers as a part of their removals.

If one looks at the statistics honestly and without bias, one can see that the overall number of expulsions of aliens from the United States has plummeted under this administration. As shown by Ms. Vaughan, total combined deportations (from both the border and the interior) in 2011, the latest year of complete numbers available when her analysis was prepared, amounted to 715,495 – the lowest level since 1973.

Even new DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, seeking to break from having to labor under the bonds of this deception, begun when Janet Napolitano was Secretary and ICE was led by former Director John Morton, admitted as much at a recent congressional hearing.

So it is that the whole premise of the Times article – that record numbers of deportations are the result of aliens arrested for minor crimes, or no crimes at all – crumbles when one pries apart the deceptive intertwining of border and interior apprehensions.

Statistically, border apprehensions have always been the major driver of expulsions from the United States: this stands to reason, given the porous state of our southern frontier with Mexico, and the fact that the Border Patrol is vastly bigger than the interior immigration enforcement component of ICE. (The Border Patrol is larger by a factor of two or three, perhaps even four, times ICE in terms of staffing.) It also stands to reason that many border apprehensions, particularly first-timers who are attempting their first crossing, will not have criminal records in the United States. That should be no surprise to anyone, and doesn’t strike me as newsworthy, except insofar as it illustrates that the administration’s own attempts at statistical deception and spin have come back to bite them in their posteriors, as evidenced by the Times article.

What should be cause for alarm, however, is the significant number of repeat offenders – prior removals – who are attempting (or succeeding at) reentry into the United States. Analysis of recent numbers suggests that about one quarter of all aliens arrested, both at the border and in the interior, has previously been formally deported. Nor are they all coming back to rejoin their broken families, as some open borders advocates claim. Many of these reentrants are single males, or have left their families in their native country, and were previously removed for crimes that they did commit in the United States.

If one were to add, on top of that one-in-four figure of prior deports, the number of aliens attempting (or succeeding at) reentry who were previously informally expelled by means of voluntary departure/voluntary return, the number of aliens who are recidivist illegal border-crossers would become dismaying indeed. This proves, at least to me, 1) that the administration’s assertions of better border security than ever are nothing more than a mirage; and 2) that, ironically, the administration’s border control efforts are being undone in no small measure by its own constitutionally dubious policies of forgiveness-through-executive-action. Yet I see no media outlets examining this phenomenon in any depth whatever.

Parenthetically, readers, I encourage you to carefully examine the first photograph which accompanies the online version of the Times article – the one showing two manacled hands through the bars of a cell (see above). This is not just a simple alien detainee. Look closely at the thumbs, both of which are tattooed (use a magnifying glass right up to your computer screen if need be). The left thumb tattoo is a variant of the swastika – one which predates Nazism and does not imply white supremacy, but rather is usually understood among gangbangers to declare that this is a man who has done serious prison time. Now there’s irony for you, given the title of the piece.

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