President Obama: Deporter-In-Chief

by Alex Nowrasteh
Cato Institute
Aug. 03, 2012

There is a persistent myth that President Obama is systematically tearing down immigration enforcement. The Federation for American Immigration Reform's (FAIR) new report, "President Obama's Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement," is just the latest in a long list of publications propagating that myth.

According to FAIR, a group intent on decreasing all immigration because it's bad for the environment, President Obama has systematically undermined the immigration laws of the U.S. In reality, President Obama has actually increased immigration enforcement and restricted legal immigration.

President Obama's pick of personnel is telling. The head of Obama's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is Janet Napolitano, the former Democratic governor of Arizona. DHS is responsible for enforcing the immigration laws through subordinate agencies. As governor, Napolitano signed the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) to directly punish employers, indirectly the rest of the state's economy, for hiring unauthorized immigrants. LAWA made E-Verify mandatory for all employers in Arizona and created something she called the "business death penalty" for firms that repeatedly hire unauthorized immigrants.

Obama's DHS has so far deported more people than during the first six and a half years of George W. Bush's administration. Just shy of 1.5 million unauthorized immigrants have been forcefully deported from the United States under Napolitano's leadership. These annual deportation figures are higher that at any other time in U.S. history, pushing the backlog for deportation cases to a record 314,147 this June. The government is apprehending unauthorized immigration so quickly that it cannot effectively process them all.

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