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Deporter in Chief

Immigration groups have referred to President Barack Obama as the “Deporter in Chief” because his administration has deported more people than any other president in history. According to the yearbook of immigration statistics data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), between 2009 and 2015, the administration deported more than 2.5 million people. This number does not include people turned away at the United States border by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or who “self-deported.”

According to abcNEWS and consistent with data, the Obama administration “deported more than the sum of all presidents in the 20th century.” During Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration, he directed United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to focus on the deportation of criminals. Since November 2014, ICE increased focus on “identifying, arresting, and deporting convicted criminals in prisons and jails, and also at-large arrests in the interior." In 2015, 91 percent of people deported from the United States were previously convicted of a crime.

The administration created priority levels. According to the November 20, 2014 Policies for Apprehension and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, the priority one is on "threats to national security, border security, and public safety." Priority one includes individuals with felony convictions or charged with an “aggravated felony;” a term defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, those who pose a threat to national security and any person detained attempting to enter the U.S. unlawfully. In 2015, 81 percent of the deportations fell into this category.

Priority two consists of individuals who are new immigration violators or convicted of three or more misdemeanors, aliens convicted of a “significant misdemeanor”, including but not limited to domestic violence, DUI, and sexual abuse and those who are apprehended after unlawfully entering or re-entering the U.S. and cannot prove they have resided continuously since January 1, 2014.

Priority three focuses on people who have been issue a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014. The folks that fall into this level will generally be removed unless they do not pose a threat or there are factors showing they should not be an enforcement priority.

Recently, many mothers with children or children traveling alone are fleeing violence from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Individuals are allowed to claim refugee status if they can prove that returning to their country will result in real harm. If real harm is shown, then they will be allowed to stay in the United States until their case can be heard. An article by abcNEWS reported, that many people are not receiving a fair chance at claiming refugee status and are being returned too quickly according to critics.

If you are seeking assistance with an immigration matter contact the knowledgeable attorneys of Bretz & Coven LLP today at 1 (212) 267-2555 or to schedule a consultation in our Metro Park or New Jersey offices call 1 (732) 313-0075.

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