Deportation Rates Under Trump Are Lower Than Under Obama, But There's A Catch
Despite all of his rhetoric against illegal immigration -- and despite all the criticism he's gotten for it -- the actual number of deportations under President Donald Trump are not as high as you may think. In fact, the rate at which people have been reported under the president so far pales in comparison to the rate under his predecessor. According to new data from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), deportation rates under Trump are lower than they were under former President Barack Obama.
The data was reported by Politico, which noted that during Trump's first six months in office, ICE removed more than 84,000 people at a rate of just under 17,000 people a month.
That rate falls below Obama's lowest ever -- and far below Obama's highest rate for a fiscal year (which starts at the beginning of October of one year to the end of September the next). In fiscal 2016, deportations occurred at a rate more than 20,000 people a month.
In fiscal 2012, deportations occurred at a rate of nearly 34,000 people a month, or, in other words, nearly double the rate during President Trump's first six months at the White House.
Trump has yet to complete a year in office or even a fiscal year. Still, the comparison between Trump and Obama's respective numbers does highlight a couple of important points of context when it comes to the subject of deportations.
As Trump drew criticism from opponents -- and (frankly) praise from his base -- for his rhetoric related to immigration, one point that might have gone missed is the fact that the United States did not lack aggressive deportation policies.
In fact, Obama himself had drawn criticism for being the "deporter-in-chief", a reputation that the video below explains:
However, there's a catch to consider in analyzing these numbers.
Immigration arrests during Trump's first 100 days did feature a significant increase compared to a similar period the year before.
Plus, as Politico reports, there is a backlog of more than 610,000 deportation cases at immigration courts. John Sandweg, a former acting director of ICE, told Politico,
The courts are more paralyzed than ever before. When you go out and you arrest a whole bunch of people willy-nilly, [the judge] has got to fill his docket time hearing those arguments.
Regardless of why exactly Trump's numbers are where they are, the data highlights a very clear bottom line. Despite Trump's reputation in relation to immigration policy, the number of deportations under this president are nowhere near higher than the last.
At least, not yet.