Obama Isn’t Deporting ‘Gangbanger’ Immigrants


Arit John
The Wire
April 8, 2014

Despite President Obama’s expressed commitment to deporting only “gang bangers” and criminals, an investigation by The New York Times found that two-thirds of undocumented immigrants who were deported had committed only minor crimes like traffic offenses. While Obama has suggested his administration is just going after bad guys — and anti-immigration conservatives like Steve King have claimed that for every undocumented good student there are 100 drug mules — the reality is that only 20 percent of the administration’s 2 million deportees committed serious crimes.

The Times found that approximately 394,000 of the Obama administration’s 2 million deportees committed serious crimes like drug offenses. Two-thirds of those individuals had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations — from driving under the influence to running a red or yellow light — or didn’t have criminal records. Compared to the Bush administration, deportations following traffic violations has quadrupled under Obama. There has also been an increases in charges being filed against immigration violators.

It’s important to note that this report directly contradicts the talking points of the anti-immigration movement. In recent weeks conservative news sites have sounded the alarm on stories about “criminal aliens” being released into society. Breitbart and several other sites covered a report from the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies (which has a page devoted to “illegal immigrants”) stating that Immigration officials had released 68,000 deportable individuals. One week earlier, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions released a Critical Alert that claimed 98 percent of deported immigrants in 2013 had criminal records for violent crimes. At the same time, the Times report confirms activists claims that Obama’s “smart” deportation strategy hasn’t just been targeting, in the president’s words, “criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community.”

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