Hollow Deportation Boast

The administration released the preliminary FY 2011 statistics for "removals" (the largest part of which is deportations), described as "the largest number in the agency's history." But when you look at history, the "largest number" is only about 1,700 more than two years ago; in fact, once the final numbers came out last year, the total had actually dropped slightly from the previous year, even though the agency had also touted those preliminary numbers as the "largest ever" and had cooked the books to be able to make that claim. More importantly, the increase in deportations that continued pretty steadily under both Clinton and Bush has stopped dead under Obama:

Nor is the stagnation in the deportation numbers due to a temporary diversion of resources, as after 9/11: The Obama administration, as a matter of policy, refuses to even ask Congress for the resources needed to deport any more than 400,000 people. Now, 400,000 deportations (of illegal aliens, of course, but also of legal aliens who made themselves deportable because of crimes) is a lot, but it can easily be doubled; I remember one of the top people at INS in the Clinton years telling me that the 114,000 removed in 1997 was a really, really big number and sufficient proof of their seriousness about immigration enforcement.

I just wish than when reporters parroted the White House talking point about the "record level of deportations" they would also make clear that deportation numbers have stopped growing under this administration.