How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Obama administration's new deportation policy being applied unevenly

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

A man is prepared for a deportation flight bound for San Salvador in Mesa, Arizona, December 2010

A series of recent posts on Multi-American highlighted how a new deportation policy announced in August by the Obama administration, which promised to potentially spare thousands from deportation, was being applied unevenly.

Homeland Security officials announced that they would review the deportation cases of some 300,000 immigrants deemed a low priority for removal, among them young people who arrived here as minors and had no criminal record. But people who meet the criteria for leniency have continued moving through the deportation pipeline. One prominent recent example was Matias Ramos, a UCLA graduate and student activist who in September suddenly found himself wearing an electronic shackle and informed that he was to be deported to Argentina, where he was born.

Ramos was granted a last-minute temporary reprieve, as have other potential young deportees who have been the focus of social media campaigns by student activists and advocacy groups. But while some like these have been spared, others who meet the criteria and have similar backgrounds and similarly clean records continue to be deported.

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ICE announces another record year for deportations

Photo by olongapowoodcraft/Flickr (Creative Commons)


Federal deportation numbers are out for fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30.

And once again, the Obama administration is announcing that a record number of people have been deported during the past year, surpassing the record that was set during fiscal year 2010.

From the news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

Overall, in FY 2011 ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations removed 396,906 individuals — the largest number in the agency's history.

Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence.

ICE achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Ninety percent of all ICE's removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.

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