Interior Enforcement Disintegrates Further in 2015

Year-end deportation statistics show continuing drop in deportations

By CIS December 2015

Year-end deportation statistics show continuing drop in deportations

WASHINGTON (December 22, 2015) – Immigration enforcement remains in a state of collapse, according to the official statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today.

  • Total deportations by ICE (including both border and interior cases) declined 25% from last year, from 315,943 in 2014 to 235,413 in 2015.

  • Interior deportations by ICE declined 31% from last year, from 100,114 in 2014 to 69,478 in 2015.

  • Most concerning, deportations of criminal aliens from the interior declined 27% from last year, from 86,923 in 2014 to 63,127 in 2015.

The number of interior deportations is now less than one-third of what it was in 2011, before the Obama administration implemented policy changes that greatly restricted the types of cases that ICE officers and agents could pursue for deportation. The number of criminal alien deportations from the interior is less than half of what it was in 2011.

ICE Director Sarah Saldana said that she was "proud of the numbers" when she testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on December 2, 2015.

In a press release announcing the numbers today, DHS falsely says "the number of convicted criminals removed from the interior continued to increase." In fact, only the share of deportations that are of criminals has increased – the actual number has fallen, as noted above.

CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan testified at the same Senate hearing as Saldana, and said this about the new statistics: "These abysmal deportation numbers are the result of deliberate policy choices made by President Obama to dismantle immigration enforcement, all the while telling Congress and the public that he was accomplishing "record" deportations. This willful neglect has imposed enormous costs on American communities. In addition to the distorted labor markets and higher tax bills for social welfare benefits that result from uncontrolled illegal immigration, the Obama administration's anti-enforcement policies represent a threat to public safety from criminal aliens that ICE officers are told to release instead of detain and remove. The administration's mandate that ICE focus only on the 'worst of the worst' convicted criminal aliens means that too many of 'the worst' deportable criminal aliens are still at large in our communities."

Vaughan also said, "We are likely to see a further drop in deportations in the coming year, following the implementation of the administration's Priority Enforcement Program. Known as PEP, this program further limits ICE officers, requiring them to ignore prior deportees and other deportable aliens who were formerly priorities, and explicitly allows state and local governments to obstruct enforcement with sanctuary policies."

Figure 1

Figure 2

Note: These figures include both removals and returns

Figure 3

Note: These figures include both removals and returns