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Deportation numbers not as good as they seem

Last week we discussed how fewer undocumented immigrants were being deported from the United States. While the 10 percent decrease in deportations last year is good news, immigration advocates are still concerned with the number of people being detained and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Advocates say that ICE is still targeting undocumented immigrants who do not pose any threat to public safety and those who have not committed any violent crimes. Reports show that many immigrants deported by ICE had no criminal record. Those that did were convicted of misdemeanors that were usually just immigration violations and not actual crimes.

ICE reported that 59 percent of immigrants removed last year had a criminal conviction. That means that 41 percent of undocumented immigrants being deported have no criminal record or don't pose a threat to society. 

U.S. immigration officials say their first priority is to remove dangerous immigrants. However, their second and third priorities are to remove immigrants who recently illegally entered the U.S., and immigrants who have obstructed immigration laws and controls. This shows that a majority of immigrants being detained and removed by ICE do not have a criminal conviction or are dangerous.

Immigration advocates say that more needs to be done by the Obama administration and Congress to address immigration reform. Advocates have been asking for Congress to take on immigration reform for several years and are hoping that they finally take up the issue in 2014. 

Immigration detention reports show that many immigrants are still being detained and deported. Undocumented immigrants who are facing deportation should consider contacting an immigration attorney to discuss their rights and specific cases. 

Source: Immigration Impact, "New ICE Deportation Statistics Are No Cause for Celebration," Walter Ewing, Dec. 20, 2013

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