On December 5, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement regarding new DHS enforcement figures published by the Los Angeles Times:
“President Obama’s former ICE Director, John Sandweg, famously conceded: ‘if you’re a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.’ The scandalous Homeland Security statistics published today by the LA Times illustrates just how true this statement is.
Despite a massive rush on the border, deportations have continued their steady and dramatic decline. Interior deportations have fallen 23 percent since last year alone, and have been halved since 2011—when then-ICE Director Morton issued the so-called Morton Memos exempting almost all illegal immigrants from enforcement and removal operations.
The effective result of the Administration’s non-enforcement policy is that anyone in the world who manages to get into the interior of the United States—by any means, including overstaying a visa—is free to live, work, and claim benefits in the United States at Americans’ expense. Again: this is the result of lawless orders issued by this Administration.
This policy explains why more than 250,000 individuals are estimated to have overstayed their visas in 2012 and remained in the country unlawfully. It also explains why in 2014 only a miniscule 0.05% of the nation’s roughly 12 million illegal immigrants were removed who were not explicit agency ‘priorities.’ If you don’t meet a ‘priority,’ you are basically immune from enforcement. Even including ‘priority’ cases, 99% of illegal immigrants were still placed beyond the reach of immigration law.
In fact, the removal of criminal aliens has continued to freefall, and has been cut in half since 2011. DHS documents show that the Administration freed 30,000 convicted criminal aliens into U.S. communities in 2014. Overall, there are about 167,000 convicted criminal aliens who were ordered removed that are now at large in the United States, and almost as many at large who were released before being ordered removed.
So total is the collapse of enforcement that even those showing up at the border are being released en masse into the interior of the country. According to the stats published by the LA Times, a mere 852 individuals who arrived—this year or in prior years—as part of a ‘family unit’ were sent home in 2014. Yet in 2014 alone, 66,000 members of family units had arrived illegally by August. In other words, even if you assume 600 of the 852 arrived in 2014, that means less than 99 percent of the new illegal immigrants who showed up this year with relatives were not removed from the United States.
There is no doubt: immigration enforcement has been destroyed by this President. But America must understand the situation can be remedied: if the public elects officeholders who will demand enforcement—at the worksite, the welfare office, and all ports of entry—the lawlessness can swiftly be ended.
The current situation does not have to continue. Under existing law, these trends can be immediately reversed—all that is required is a President who is true to his duty to see that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed.”