Fewer criminal illegal immigrants were deported in the past year than when President Barack Obama took office in 2009, despite his pledge to focus on finding and deporting them.
“If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported,” Obama said in November, when he granted millions of illegal immigrants legal status by executive order. “If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.”
But deportations of criminal illegal immigrants have declined to a new low since Obama took office, according to Department of Homeland Security numbers obtained by the Associated Press.
His administration also deported the fewest number of illegal immigrants overall last year — 231,000 — since 2006. That’s a 42 percent drop just since 2012.
Obama’s chief immigration officer, Sarah Saldana, was called to testify before Congress in April because of the declining numbers of deportations in recent years. She attributed the plummet to the surge of children crossing the border and uncooperative local and foreign governments.
Those 231,000 deported in the past year include about 136,700 convicted criminals, but does not include Mexicans who were apprehended and quickly deported at the border.
The DHS figures obtained by the AP are not yet public, but include month-by-month breakdowns between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 28.